Aurora, G-Braves join for theater's season opener

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett Braves baseball fever has spread to the Aurora Theatre, which will open its 13th season with the baseball musical "Damn Yankees."

"'Damn Yankees' is a show that we have wanted to produce for a long time. So the minute we heard the news that professional baseball was coming to Gwinnett, we knew we had the Aurora season opener," said Anthony Rodriguez, the theater's producing artistic director and a performer in the show.

In keeping with the baseball theme, Gwinnett Braves General Manager Bruce Baldwin will throw out the "first pitch" before the opening show tonight to officially begin the season.

"I hope that I do OK," Baldwin laughed, when asked about tossing the opening pitch. "We're just very excited with the opportunity to partner up with the theater, which is a great part of the community," he added.

The theater will also hold "Bat Days" - those who attend Saturday matinee performances of "Damn Yankees" will receive a free souvenir mini Damn Yankees baseball bat. Theater-goers will also be able to spot volunteers at the theater, who all will be wearing Gwinnett Braves gear.

"The Braves are really embracing the Gwinnett community," said Al Stilo, director of sales and marketing. "They were really excited about partnering with the Aurora Theatre."

"Damn Yankees" will run tonight through Sept. 7. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with 2:30 p.m. matinee shows Saturdays and Sundays.

Ticket prices range from $16 to $30.

"People who aren't necessarily musical theater fans like 'Damn Yankees,'" Stilo said. "It's got a great appeal to sports fans because of all the sports references and the baseball theme and, of course, to regular theater patrons.

"We're going to kick off the season with a big budget musical, 20 performers, live orchestra, great production value, doing what Aurora theater does best," Stilo added.

For more information about the Aurora Theatre and "Damn Yankees," visit www.auroratheatre.com or call 678-226-6222.

SideBar: If you go

· What: "Damn Yankees," presented by the Aurora Theatre

· When: Tonight through Sept. 7; performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with 2:30 p.m. matinee shows Saturdays and Sundays

· Where: Aurora Theatre, 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville

· Cost: $16 to $30

· More information: Call 678-226-6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com