Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams dropped by The Daily Show With Trevor Noah March 7 to talk about his upcoming Broadway debut in Second Stage's revival of Take Me Out, which begins performances at the Hayes Theater March 10. Williams will reach the Main Stem after a pandemic delay of well over a year; the production was originally announced to begin in April 2020.
The Richard Greenberg-penned play follows baseball star Darren Lemming, center fielder for the Empires, who comes out of the closet, revealing a tradition of long-held unspoken prejudices off the field. As the Empires struggle to rally toward a championship season, the players and their fans begin to question the old ways, their loyalties, and the price of victory.
The work premiered on Broadway in 2003, when, as Williams reveals to Noah, Greenberg thought a real-life equivalent to his play's plot was imminent. Twenty years later, a true star major league player has yet to publicly come out as queer, making Take Me Out as relevant and timely as it was when it debuted.
Williams resonates particularly with how the work confronts toxic masculinity, as he tells Noah.
"This guy is the alpha, best player in the world, best player on the team, championship team. He hasn't changed anything but [come out of the closet], and look how men contort themselves. They don't know how to behave around him. They don't know how to present themselves. And it takes away an interesting locker-room dynamic where guys are able to be playful and homoerotic and maybe intolerant—all of those things that get woven into locker-room culture. Now what do you do when I'm there?"
Williams will co-star in Take Me Out with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Patrick J. Adams. Directed by Scott Ellis, the revival will feature scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by Bray Poor, and casting by Jim Carnahan.