WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s production of "Johnny Baseball" will swing back the clock to some of the most iconic imagery of the Boston Red Sox organization.
From Big Papi’s exorcism in 2004 all the way back to the original Curse of the Red Sox, the show explores varying themes from the era’s porrtrayed.
This is the musicals second at-bat.
"It’s great to give Johnny Baseball a second chance," Festival Artistic Director Jenny Gersten said, "because when it was done in Boston, it was a great first look at that musical. New musicals, as you know, take a long time to develop and reconfigure."
The was one huge problem the first time, according to the show’s writer, Richard Dresser.
"We went into the Boston production not having an ending which is a bit of a liability," Dresser said. "There also were other aspects of the prodction that we felt didn’t need to be there.
"It’s really a gift to have another shot at this."
Just like the gift of this musical, apparently.
"It came up in 2003, when Aaron Boone hit that cheap, tragic home run," Dresser said. "I was watching in the basement with my son, and one of us ended up curled up in the fetal position on the floor.
"My collaborators, who were Yankees fans, called up - it wasn’t to gloat - it was that maybe the team actually is cursed?"
Dresser almost gave it up after the Sox won it all in 2004.
"We didn’t think we could do it - no more curse," Dresser said, "but we realized, they had just given us the ending."
Now to get back to the past.
"It’s ridiculously ambitious what we do," Dresser said, "moving through time from 1919, 1948, 2004. So it’s taken a little time to work it out."
Fetival veteran Brooks Ashmanskas sounds ready to embark on the journey.
"That’s the great thing about a musical. You’re allowed to do things, like hit a a chord and shift the lights," Ashmanskas said of jumping around the Red Sox timeline. "Some of them are very actual people, and some of them are a player, who could be anybody.
"It’s a great opportunity and challege to very quickly go from being a fan at a 2004 Red Sox game to playing one in 1919," Ashmanskas added. "It’s part of the fun of it, and it keeps you awake.
The show is brought to life by the lives of three seperate people - Johnny O’ Brian (James Snyder), a hard-luck pitcher from the 1919 Red Sox, Babe Ruth (Festiava Veteran Tom McGowan) and Daist Wyatt (De’Adre Aziza), a blues singer who is the apple of Johnny’s eye.
The show features six new songs, and "at least 60 percent of the book is different, so it really feels like a whole new show," Dresser said.
If you go ...
What: Williamstown Theatre Festival’s ‘Johnny Baseball’
Where: Nikos Stage, 1000 Main St.
When: Through Aug. 3
Tickets: $50-$55. wtfestival.org, 413-597-3400