There is nothing more American than baseball. After all, it is the country’s favorite pastime. Every year, many tune in to the annual World Series, rooting for their teams. This booming American baseball culture is the backdrop of the theatrical play Take Me Out from the brilliant playwriting of Richard Greenberg. The themes explored in this stage play are provocative, insightful, and relevant — which connected to people when it was first released in 2002. In its revival this year, it continues to move and entertain those who see it. Whether you watch baseball or not, this leaves you engrossed. If you are looking for something to watch in New York City, catch this powerful play at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. A hilarious and thought-provoking experience awaits you!
“A STARRY, SOLID HIT!” – Variety
“IT’S HIT A HOME RUN” – Entertainment Weekly
“This convincingly-acted, blistering drama more than earns its championship title.” – Theatrely
Richard Greenberg started writing Take Me Out after he fell in love with baseball. In contrast to others, who are avid baseball fans, he did not realize how entertaining it was until the late 90s. “I used to think my father and brother were absurd [for being fans]. Now I have turned into one of those people who screams in a room. I always felt alienated in groups; this was the first crowd I ever agreed with. It was like finding a community for the first time.” said Greenberg in a 2003 The Advocate magazine interview. This breakthrough led him to write the play. When Take Me Out was in the process of being written, no baseball player from the Major League had ever come out as gay during the tenure of their career. This was due to the fact that it would significantly impact them. Imagining what such a situation might be like is this play’s focus.
With such a perspective in mind, Greenberg created a story of a baseball superstar named Darren Lemming, a mixed-race player who has it all, is at the top of his game found the courage to come out as gay. As a result of this revelation, Darren has to deal with the ramification of his revelation. At the same time, their team suffered a successive defeat, which led to them taking up a relief pitcher named Shane Mungitt, who has a backward mindset about race and sexuality. Conflict arose between the two when Shane insulted Darren in an interview.
Themes relating to homophobia, racism, class, and masculinity are exceptionally explored throughout the plot. As Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly wrote in her review, “If the point of Take Me Out is to make us uncomfortable – to make us think, to force us to feel, to allow us to acknowledge our privilege and our emotions and our relationship with those close to us and with ourselves – then it’s more than done its job. In fact, it’s hit a home run.” In addition, the portrayal of homosexuality was praised for being respectful to actual gay people.
This is in addition to the embedded humor, which is one of the best aspects of the play. The comedy parts of Take Me Out are given so much dimension by the gay accountant Mason Marzac, who has no interest in baseball until he hears the news of Lemming’s coming out.
In the revival, Greenfield’s exceptional script is barely changed. Even after 20 years, the story continues to impart relevant messages. It has also been noted that the play has come out perfectly in today’s political climate.
“Greenberg’s script remains as sharp and funny as it was 20 years ago, full of both quippy one-liners and wise monologues on the meanings of life and baseball.” – New York Stage Review
In its original release in 2002, Take Me Out premiered in London at the Donmar Warehouse. Due to its success, it transferred off-Broadway to the Joseph Papp Public Theater and stayed there until 2003. The show finally moved to Broadway in February of that same year at the Walter Kerr Theatre. There it gained its well-deserved traction and ran until 2004.
After 16 years, the play’s revival was intended to come out in 2020. However, it was derailed by COVID-19. The production eventually pushed through in early 2022. It opened in April at the Hayes Theatre. Actors from famous TV shows join the cast of this production. Jesse Williams, best known for his role as Jackson Avery in Grey’s Anatomy, plays Darren Lemming, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, unforgettable for his role as Mitchell Pritchett in Modern Family, plays Mason Marzac.
“Take Me Out just might be a revelation even to those who saw the original Broadway production nearly 20 years ago.” – Greg Evans, Deadline
Since it was masterfully crafted and performed, this play received many accolades from the different award-giving bodies in both its original and revival productions. During the 2003 Tony Awards, it won three awards out of four nominations. These are “Best Play,” “Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play” for Denis O’Hare’s performance as Mason Marzac, and “Best Direction of a Play” by Joe Mantello. During the 2003 Drama Desk Award, it won “Outstanding Play” and another Featured Actor award for O’Hare. It also won the coveted “Pulitzer Prize for Drama.”
On the other hand, the revival won two Tony Awards in 2022. First is “Best Revival of a Play” and “Best Featured Actor in a Play” for Ferguson’s performance as Marzac. At the 2022 Drama League Awards, it won “Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play.” On the other hand, during the 2022 Outer Critics Circle Awards, it won the “Outstanding Revival of a Play” (Broadway or Off-Broadway) award and another outstanding featured actor award for Ferguson.
Also, a TV series is set to come out with Jesse Williams reprising his role under the direction of Scott Ellis and Greenberg’s scriptwriting. Additional details for the TV series will come out soon.
In the meantime, take the chance to see Take Me Out on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre before it closes in February next year. Do not miss the opportunity to witness the performance of the all-star cast led by Jesse Williams as Darren Lemming, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mason Marzac, Brandon J. Dirden as Davey Battle, Bill Heck as Kippy Sunderstrom, Michael Oberholtzer as Shane Mungitt, Julian Cihi as Takeshi Kawabata, and many more.