On this day in 1955, at the 46th Street Theatre, the musical Damn Yankees premiered. The musical comedy would garner 10 Tony Award nominations, winning eight, including Best Musical. It was a smash hit, running for over 1,000 performances.
With a book by George Abbot and Douglass Wallop (the musical is based on his novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant), and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (who would die suddenly at age 29 several months after the show's open), it is a modern retelling of the Faust legend. This time it's set in 1950s Washington D.C., where a middle-aged man sells his soul to the devil to become a ball player so his beloved Washington Senators can beat the Yankees in the World Series.
The show would later become a movie in 1958. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical. The last time it was on Broadway was in 1994, and was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Revival.
From the 1971 Tony Awards:
From the movie:
From the revival: