by David Walters
A well-deserved standing ovation.
There’s a heartfelt reason that a producer brings back a play. Whether it’s a gem that shouldn’t be forgotten, a look back at our society at a different time that can inform the present, or it’s great roles for actors to embody and tell a story. Yes, to all three. I will skip the baseball puns and metaphors on this one as I want to say, most forthrightly, that there is nothing dated 20 years on about Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg.
In the time since it won a 2003 Tony, it has off-handedly been given the moniker, “the gay baseball play,” but that stigma greatly diminishes what I feel this play is really about. Friendship. Friendship and how self-identity defines it.
Of course, there are other things in there: masculinity, baseball, racism, numerology, nudity on stage, religion, homophobia, intelligence and lack thereof, jealousy, kindness, fandom, all of which I could talk about, but others have chosen one of the above possible themes and feel strongly that they are what the play is about. I suppose that’s a good sign of depth that a piece of theater can be so multi-faceted.
Ultimately though, it is about friendships that encompass all those other things. Friendships that fail, friendships that linger in fallow ground, friendships with deep taproots, friendships that never can be, and friendships formed out of necessity. I believe that that will be your takeaway from when you go to see it and I urge you that you should as it is a wonderful piece of theater.
I won’t go into the plot points as most of you already know it’s about a championship baseball team that starts to implode upon itself. Suffice it to say that director Scott Ellis has adeptly created a production that moves along much faster than a baseball game with sharp crack-of-the-bat scene changes. The set by David Rockwell is minimal and highly functional in the way it flows from scene to scene. There are stand-out tip-top performances, even in the smaller roles, by the whole ensemble cast (highlighting: Jesse Williams, Michael Oberholtzer, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson).
I’ll say it again, a well-deserved standing ovation.
Take Me Out by: Richard Greenberg, Producer: Second Stage Theater, Director: Scott Ellis, Lighting: Kenneth Posner, Sound: Mikal Suiliman, Design: David Rockwell, Costume: Linda Cho
April 4–10: Monday OPENING, Wednesday @2pm and 7pm, Thursday @7pm, Friday @8pm, Saturday @2pm and 8pm, Sunday @3pm
April 12–May 1: Tuesday @7pm, Wednesday @2pm and 7pm, Thursday @7pm, Friday @8pm, Saturday @2pm and 8pm, Sunday @3pm
RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES, INCLUDING INTERMISSION
Please Note: Out of respect and support for the actors and in order to create a camera-free environment, Second Stage is utilizing Yondr for all performances of Take Me Out. Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and smartwatches are placed in Yondr cases by staff and will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones and smartwatches at all times and may access them in the designated Phone Use Area if needed.