Everything you need to know about 'Take Me Out' on Broadway, starring Jesse Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Patrick J. Adams
Catch the all-star cast of this play through May 29.
Batter up! Baseball meets Broadway at the Hayes Theater this season, where Take Me Out is having its first Broadway revival. First seen in New York 20 years ago, Richard Greenberg's Tony-winning and Pulitzer-nominated play centers on a Major League Baseball center fielder who comes out as gay, drawing unprecedented support and hatred alike from his teammates, friends, and the public. When the show first premiered, no Major League baseballer had ever come out during his career — and 20 years later, the same holds true, making Take Me Out a still-timely exploration of how such an event could rock America's quintessential pastime.
Even if baseball isn't your thing, there's still plenty to enjoy about Take Me Out — namely, its spotlight on underrepresented perspectives (namely, its gay, biracial main character battling an environment of toxic masculinity) — and its all-star roster. Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams, Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Suits star Patrick J. Adams are on the Take Me Out team, and with a cast like that on stage together, the play is destined to be nothing less than a grand-slam hit.
Celebrate the return of baseball season by going just downtown from Yankee Stadium to Take Me Out on Broadway. Before you catch the show, on through May 29, read all about its history, its runtime and venue, and the real-life baseballers and events that inspired Greenberg's work. You're sure to have a ball!
What is Take Me Out about?
Take Me Out is a play in three acts, though Acts 2 and 3 are combined after the single intermission in the Broadway production. The play kicks off when Darren Lemming, a biracial star center fielder for a fictional Major League Baseball team, the New York Empires, comes out to the public as gay. He's confident that his revelation won't negatively affect his career because it doesn't affect his gameplay. The play focuses on his teammates' and acquaintances' actual reactions, which are mixed.
Darren's best friend on the team, Kippy, supports him, and his new business manager, Mason, is ecstatic because he finally sees his identity represented in a sport he previously cared little about. But Shane Mungitt, a newly hired pitcher from Arkansas, goes on the record with a homophobic, racist tirade about having to work with the gay Lemming and his teammates of color.
Acts 2 and 3 follow the fallout from Shane's comments, in which Lemming finds himself on the receiving end of even more skepticism and hate from other teammates, the public, and even his coach. Shane is suspended from the team but brought back after his tragic backstory comes to light, but an argument between the two leads to an incident that rocks the Empires for good.
Where is Take Me Out playing?
Take Me Out is at the Hayes Theatre. The Hayes Theatre is located at 240 West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, right next to the St. James Theatre. The Hayes is named for actress Helen Hayes and is the smallest Broadway theatre with 597 seats. Second Stage Theater has owned the venue since 2015, and its first production there was Lobby Hero in 2018.
How long is Take Me Out?
Take Me Out is about 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission. This is the standard running time for a Broadway show, as most run between two and three hours. Most Broadway shows also have one 15- or 20-minute intermission. It is recommended that audiences eat before the show begins.
What days is Take Me Out playing?
Take Me Out typically plays eight performances a week at the Hayes Theatre on Broadway. Performances run Tuesday to Sunday. There are two performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For the most up-to-date weekly performance schedule, please visit the Take Me Out page on New York Theatre Guide.
When did Take Me Out premiere?
Take Me Out premiered in London in 2002. Greenberg was inspired by the stories of baseball players who came out only to teammates during their career, or to the public after retirement, but noted that no Major League Baseball player had ever come out to the public while actively playing. At the time of both the premiere and the revival 20 years later, this is still true, but Greenberg's imagining of what such an event might be like has built a robust legacy in that time.
- 1998: The New York Yankees have a record baseball season with 114 wins, beginning with a perfect game pitched by David Wells (meaning no opposing team members ever made it to a single base). Greenberg was fascinated and quickly became immersed in baseball, inspiring him to write a play about the sport the following year.
- 1999: Billy Bean comes out to the public after retiring from Major League Baseball, becoming only the second player ever to do so (after Glenn Burke).
- June 2002: Take Me Out has its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse in London, England. The run lasted for just under two months before transferring to New York.
- August 2002: Take Me Out has its New York premiere at The Public Theater with the entire cast from the London premiere, along with director Joe Mantello.
- 2003: Take Me Out premieres on Broadway in February. Its run lasted just under a year and earned three Tony Awards, including Best Play. All but one of the actors from London and the Public reprised their roles.
- 2014: Take Me Out opened in Singapore for a limited run, marking the show's first Asian production and one of the first major productions anywhere since its Broadway premiere.
- 2022: Take Me Out is revived on Broadway after being postponed from 2020 with Jesse Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Patrick J. Adams.
Who wrote Take Me Out?
Richard Greenberg wrote Take Me Out. It is his most famous and awarded play, though he has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off Broadway. These include 1998's Three Days of Rain, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and an adaptation of August Strindberg’s Dance of Death, which ran on Broadway in 2002 — just before Take Me Out — with Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, and David Strathairn. Greenberg is also a TV writer, and he is known for writing humorous yet subversive portrayals of middle-class American life.
Take Me Out characters
Take Me Out has an all-male ensemble cast, most of whom are the members of the fictional Empires baseball team. The few that aren't star Empires baseballers, though, are still extremely key players in Greenberg's drama. Here are the main characters in Take Me Out.
- Darren Lemming: The star player on the Empires baseball team. He is talented and good-natured but aloof, and he prefers to keep his personal and work life separate, which is why he doesn't think his coming out will affect his career.
- Kippy Sunderstrom: Darren's best friend on the baseball team. Kippy serves as the narrator of the story and as its moral foundation, as he immediately accepts Darren when he comes out. He is also the only person on the team to reach out to the quiet Shane upon his arrival to the team.
- Mason Marzac: Darren's business manager, who is also a gay man. He has never been interested in baseball, but once he meets Darren, he becomes extremely passionate about baseball now that he sees his identity represented.
- Shane Mungitt: A young baseballer from Arkansas and the newest addition to the Empires. He's hired as a relief pitcher when the team starts to lose multiple games in a row. He witnessed the tragic death of his parents as a child and spent his youth in and out of foster homes, and as such is troubled and easily angered. He develops a tenuous bond with Kippy, who is the only one to show interest in him, but quickly becomes an enemy of Darren's after publicly directing hate at him.
- Davey Battle: Darren's religious best friend and a member of a rival baseball team, the Larks. He unwittingly encourages Darren to come out, telling him over drinks one day that he should "embrace his full self," but isn't as supportive as Darren expects.
What awards has Take Me Out won?
Take Me Out won awards for writing, directing, and acting upon its Broadway premiere in 2003. Here are the major awards Take Me Out has won.
- Tony Awards: Take Me Out was nominated for four Tony Awards and won three: Best Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play (for Denis O'Hare), and Best Direction of a Play (for Joe Mantello). Daniel Sunjata was also nominated for Best Featured Actor alongside his co-star.
- Drama Desk Awards: Take Me Out won Best Play at the 2003 Drama Desk Awards, and O'Hare won for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play in 2003. Take Me Out received six additional nominations, including one for Mantello as director, acting awards for Sunjata and Frederick Weller, and for set, sound, and lighting design.
- Pulitzer Prize: Greenberg's play was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
- Other awards: Take Me Out won Best Play awards at the 2003 Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards.
Major productions of Take Me Out
Take Me Out hasn't had any revivals before now, but its few major productions have been grand-slam hits, and the show has been performed on three continents. Here are all the major productions of Take Me Out.
- 2002 London premiere: Take Me Out had its world premiere in London at the Donmar Warehouse. It began performances June 20 and ran for just under two months, through August 3. Though the run was short, the play was successful enough to earn an American transfer. The full cast from the London premiere reprised their roles on the opposite side of the pond.
- 2002 Off-Broadway premiere: The Public Theater hosted the North American premiere of Take Me Out in late 2002, and the show ran through early 2003. In addition to the cast, Joe Mantello (the director behind Wicked), who directed the London premiere, came to New York to helm the Public production.
- 2003 Broadway premiere: Take Me Out premiered on Broadway in February 2003 and ran at the Walter Kerr Theatre for just under a year. The play won three Tony Awards out of four nominations, including Best Play. Nearly the entire cast from the Public production transferred to Broadway, with the exception of Dominic Fumusa in the role of Toddy Koovitz; he was replaced by David Eigenberg.
- 2014 Singapore premiere: A production of Take Me Out opened in Singapore in 2014. The show had a limited run during the month of January. Five of the cast members were American, and it was cast this way to make the experience of showcasing an American pastime the most authentic.
- 2022 Broadway revival: The 2022 production marks Take Me Out's first Broadway revival. Originally scheduled for a 2020 premiere, the play was postponed by the pandemic and was rescheduled for two years later, coincidentally overlapping with baseball season. Screen stars Jesse Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Patrick J. Adams lead the cast.
Onscreen adaptations of Take Me Out
The are no onscreen adaptations of Take Me Out yet, but a TV miniseries is currently being planned. It was announced in August 2021 that Greenberg would adapt his play for the screen, Jesse Williams would reprise his role as Darren Lemming, and Scott Ellis, who directs the 2022 Broadway revival, will direct the series. No additional information has been revealed since, but in a March 2022 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Williams said the series is still in the works.
Celebrities that have appeared in Take Me Out
The 2022 Take Me Out revival is full of big-name stars with a diverse array of stage and screen credits. Here are the celebrities you can see on stage at Take Me Out on Broadway right now, and some stars who performed in the show's original cast back in 2002.
- Jesse Williams: Williams makes his Broadway debut as Darren Lemming in Take Me Out, his first major project since leaving his best-known role as Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey's Anatomy. He played that role for 12 years and has also appeared in films like films The Cabin in the Woods, The Butler, and Band Aid. Williams is also slated to star in a TV adaptation of Take Me Out.
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson: Ferguson is best known for his award-winning, widely beloved role as Mitchell Pritchett in all 11 seasons of the ABC sitcom Modern Family. He's also a theatre veteran, having appeared on Broadway in shows like On the Town and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He plays Mason Marzac in Take Me Out.
- Patrick J. Adams: Adams plays Kippy Sunderstrom, the show's narrator, in Take Me Out. His best-known role is as lawyer Mike Ross in the USA legal drama Suits, and he earned a Screen Actor's Guild Award nomination for his performance. Take Me Out marks Adams's Broadway debut.
- Daniel Sunjata: Sunjata originated the role of Darren Lemming in London and on and off Broadway. He is best known to TV audiences as Franco Rivera in the FX television series Rescue Me, Nurse Eli on Grey's Anatomy, and Paul Briggs on Graceland. He received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his performance in Take Me Out on Broadway.
- Denis O'Hare: O'Hare played Mason Marzac in the original London and New York casts of Take Me Out, winning a Tony Award. He's also a Drama Desk Award winner for performing as Oscar Lindquist in Sweet Charity, and he's appeared in multiple seasons of FX's American Horror Story, earning two Emmy nominations for his performances.
Fun facts about Take Me Out
Did you know that elements of the Take Me Out characters are based in part on real professional players, plus Greenberg himself? Learn all about them and more with these Take Me Out fun facts.
- When Take Me Out premiered 20 years ago, no professional baseball player had ever come out to the public while actively playing for a team, though a couple Major League Baseballers had come out before — Glenn Burke came out to his teammates in the 1970s, and Billy Bean came out in 1999 after his retirement from the sport. As of the 2022 revival, the same holds true. The only professional baseball player to have come out during his career was Bryan Ruby, a non-MLB player, in fall 2021.
- There seems to be an unofficial pipeline between Grey's Anatomy and Take Me Out pipeline. Jesse Williams starred as Dr. Jackson Avery on the medical drama series before stepping into Darren Lemming's baseball shoes. But years beforehand, Daniel Sunjata went the other way: After originating the role of Darren Lemming on Broadway, he'd go on to play Nurse Eli on Grey's for two seasons of his own.
- Though the Empires baseball team and its members are fictional, Greenberg is thought to have taken inspiration from some real-life players. Many believe Darren's personality is based on Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees (perhaps itself a loose basis for the Empires). Shane Mungitt is thought to be based on the Atlanta Braves' John Rocker, who became infamous for his inflammatory and often offensive statements. Plus, Greenberg was inspired to write a baseball play in 1999, a year after the New York Yankees had a then-record 114-win season that absolutely enthralled him. The character of Mason Marzac, who becomes a baseball fanatic overnight, could be based in part on Greenberg himself.
- Take Me Out on Broadway takes place mainly in the locker room and on the baseball field and recreates those settings closely. Moments from baseball games are acted out, with the actors standing on turf as they throw pitches and swing bats in full uniform. David Rockwell's locker-room set includes everything from their high-end, equipment-stocked lockers to fully functioning onstage showers. (Please be advised that there is full frontal nudity in Take Me Out during some of these scenes.)
How to get Take Me Out tickets
Whether you're a sports fan, a theatre fan, a TV drama fan, or any combination of these, you'll find something to love in Take Me Out. Rally a team of your closest friends, family, or actual teammates and get Take Me Out tickets. The show is only running through May 29 — score your tickets now so you don't strike out!