Take Me Out Reviews
The New York Times- Recommended
"...At its best, "Take Me Out," which opened on Monday in a fine revival at the Helen Hayes Theater, is a five-tool play. It's (1) funny, with an unusually high density of laughs for a yarn that is (2) quite serious, and (3) cerebral without undermining its (4) emotion. I'm not sure whether (5) counts as one tool or many, but "Take Me Out" gives meaty roles to a team of actors, led in this Second Stage Theater production by Jesse Williams as Lemming and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as his fanboy business manager."
NY Daily News- Somewhat Recommended
"...That said, you're watching a skilled and earnest ensemble. Adams makes for a very reliable narrator, but most of the best scenes involve the consistently superb Williams, whom you can easily believe as a real ball player and whose acting has the single quality most essential to all Greenberg plays: He never reveals too much at once."
Hollywood Reporter- Highly Recommended
"...Working on a stylized set by David Rockwell that depicts the stadium, the clubhouse and various other locations with elegant economy - graced by supple lighting from Kenneth Posner that pulls us into the intimate exchanges and into the game - director Ellis expertly navigates the play's shifting moods."
"...To build suspense, Kippy lets us know that something terrible has happened after Darren's disclosure and that he's not sure how to explain the whole mess. Yet, Kippy wonders, "how could a 'mess' have ever started with Darren? Who would you ever associate less with that word?" It's crucial to Greenberg's storytelling that Darren maintain this air of untouchability. Even when things - guilt, anger, pain - stick momentarily to him, they eventually lose their purchase."
New York Theater- Highly Recommended
"...Under the direction of Scott Ellis, the first-rate 11 member cast convey persuasively the individual lives and underlying tensions of a professional sports team in ways that, for better or for worse (mostly worse), have not changed."
"...But the playwright and this production still manage to bring it home in the play's ninth inning with a graceful, bittersweet denouement that leaves characters still searching, still discovering and still in play for another season."
New York Post- Highly Recommended
"...“Take Me Out” isn’t a sports psychologist’s essay though. It’s a taut and exciting play — and much more propulsive than your average spring ball game — that thankfully doesn’t concern itself with the endless sensitivities and triggers of 2022. Most of the scenes are set in the tense locker room and there is an authenticity to the players’ angst and jibes that wouldn’t exist if the script had been scrubbed clean by some modern non-profit’s propaganda officer. The show’s got belly laughs, and a lot of grit."
Entertainment Weekly- Highly Recommended
"...The production team's minimalistic approach to set design smartly serves to elevate and highlight the strong performances of Take Me Out, acknowledging that this is the kind of play whose success and engagement hinges on sharp, nuanced relationships and emotions between the eight racially diverse cast members. It's also an acknowledgement emphasized by director Scott Ellis, who understands that the sanctity of what happens inside a men's locker room is similar to the sanctity of what happens inside a Broadway theater. Despite a combined second and third act that feels slightly drawn out, it's hard to feel tired or bored when we're watching intense conversations between characters with believable rapports and conflicts."
amNY- Highly Recommended
"...Scott Ellis has directed a solid, straightforward production that hits upon raw tensions in each scene, with Ferguson serving as comic relief. The cast is uniformly strong, so much so that they actually transcend the play's least believable scenes, with standouts including Williams' sharp and enigmatic Darren, Adams' compassionate Kippy, Brandon J. Dirden's fierce and swaggering Davey, and Ferguson's wonderfully fumbling and affectionate Mason. O'Hare won a Tony Award for his performance as Mason in the original production, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Ferguson does too."
Washington Post- Recommended
"..."Take Me Out" is a double helix of intelligent storytelling: the arcs of Williams's Darren Lemming, the blase, uber-arrogant anchor of the fictional Empires, and Ferguson's Mason Marzac, his newly assigned, socially inept business manager, intertwine as tales of parallel growth. Mason gains from Darren a profound appreciation of the serious joys of baseball, and Darren ultimately finds in Mason a gay ally who helps him rekindle his jaded spirit."
Time Out New York- Recommended
"...While Ferguson is the soul of the play, there's also plenty of flesh: David Rockwell's attractive set includes working showers, which are used twice. But Take Me Out's lengthy male nudity is not just an excuse to stare at hunky actors. Greenberg's point is that Darren's homosexuality-or, more accurately, Darren's revelation of his homosexuality-disrupts the thoughtless homosocial operations of the male world he inhabits. ("We've lost a kind of paradise. We see that we are naked," observes Kippy.) If audiences feel as awkward with the naked bodies on stage as the athletes suddenly do, that is anything but gratuitous-it is the point of the scene. Take Me Out dramatizes the power of knowledge to transform our experience, for better or worse: The shower that had been innocent is now fraught with uncomfortable sexuality; words become springboards for puns and double meanings; a championship ring becomes recognizable as jewelry. With a twist of the wrist-a queering of the pitch-Greenberg takes a much-examined pastime and makes it a whole new ball game."
Deadline- Highly Recommended
"...If the last week in our entertainments has shown us anything, it's that even the most ordered, traditional of ceremonies can be disrupted by an unkind explosion of id, with ramifications splashing like crocodile tears on even the most unexpected of our heroes. Take Me Out, Richard Greenberg's 2002 play that charts the ramifications when a star baseball player comes out as gay, opens on Broadway tonight in a revival that has the perfect timing of a triple play."
TheaterScene.net- Highly Recommended
"...The first revival in 20 years of Richard Greenberg's 2003 Tony Award winning play Take Me Out could not be timelier. This comedy drama about the fallout when a major baseball star for the fictional New York Empires comes out as gay reappears on Broadway when Florida, the state where 15 MLB teams conduct winter training, had just passed a law banning classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity and to date no baseball player has come out as gay during the time he was still playing on a team. While the play with its two notorious shower scenes is not as startling as it was when it premiered at The Public Theater in 2003, Scott Ellis' fine production demonstrates that this exciting theatrical experience is still stage worthy and relevant."
NY Theatre Guide- Recommended
"...However, Take Me Out is not as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. In the history of Major League Baseball, only two players have come out as gay: Glenn Burke and Billy Bean. Today, each of America's big five sports categories currently has an openly gay man in the pros (though baseball's is in the minor leagues, not the MLB). We still have a long way to go in terms of our perception of masculinity - or what it even means to be male - and Take Me Out makes us aware of this, but uses a curve ball to do so."
Broadway Blog- Somewhat Recommended
"...Although often amusing, Director Scott Ellis’s production at the Hayes Theater is rarely moving and occasionally fails the plausibility test. It also contains an abundance of full-frontal male nudity that leaves a more annoyingly indelible impression than much of what surrounds it."
Stage Buddy- Recommended
"...When I saw the play for the first time years ago, I was impressed by Greenberg's skilled use of language. Characters range from super-intellectual (Kippy) to almost guttural (Mungitt.) Yet it doesn't matter how intelligent they are, there's a breakdown of communication. Whether through religious ideology, background or prejudice, these men just are unable to communicate with one another."
Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended
"...As the man presumably at the top of society, Jesse Williams shines. He is perfectly cast in the role of baseball superstar Darren Lemming. His Darren so completely and naturally accepts his superiority in all things that, rather than being off-putting, he's actually kind of charming. Williams also gilds Darren with a subtle, emotionally distant wall of protection. As an actor, Williams doesn't take in his audience to the extent of his more stage-seasoned colleagues, yet this helps fuel the perception that Darren engages with people, but not really. In the few, brief moments that Williams allows Darren to drop his outer defense, his inner turmoil is heart-breaking to witness. In an impressive Broadway debut, Williams delivers an understated, humorous and powerful characterization."
StageZine- Highly Recommended
"...Take Me Out is a show that is enjoyable while watching, but mind-blowing long after leaving the theater and pondering the different subject matters it tackles. I admired the show in 2002 more as a voyeur and missed out on the multiple layers upon which it is built. The central subject matter is the coming out of a beloved baseball player, who is at the top of his game, to the media, unbeknownst to his fellow teammates and without any cause or a personal relationship. Although it might have seemed a breakthrough for a major league athlete to come out as gay in 2002, just think where we are in 2022 and the alarming "Don't Say Gay" Florida law that was just signed, banning the word "gay," and other states trying to undo same-sex marriages. It is mind-numbing to see how far we are regressing, which in turn makes Take Me Out more progressive and relevant today."
Daily Beast- Recommended
"...What Shane embodies is before us in the many and varied current attacks on the LGBTQ community, and trans youth in particular. It may even explain the paucity of out sports-people 20-plus years after Take Me Out's debut. Yet finally, Take Me Out also offers a vision of inclusion, of finding a place, finding friendship, and finding a home. It all comes with costs, but it's there-a genuinely unexpected field of dreams."
The Observer- Highly Recommended
"...Scott Ellis' grounded staging spotlights and underlines the conflicting emotional subtexts in Richard Greenberg's profound script, in a production of Take Me Out that is an alternately tense, funny, and heartrending toast to America's favorite pastime."
Broadway News- Somewhat Recommended
"...But there’s little retrospective insight to this production, from director Scott Ellis, which is a straightforward retelling of a story whose provocations were largely reliant on context. And if the play has enduring resonance — as a study of prejudice, or even a romance with America’s pastime — here it’s more an echo than a roar."
Theatrely- Highly Recommended
"...The emotional wallop packed by Take Me Out took me by surprise. The last time I engaged with a baseball-centric Broadway tale, watching the Damn Yankees film, I was left watching, well, baseball. But this convincingly-acted, blistering drama more than earns its championship title."
New York Stage Review- Recommended
"...Director Ellis keeps all the thematic balls in the air at a peppy pace, but with some loss of edge. A strong emphasis on humor means that moments that could be fraught are tamped down. The players’ ragging, for instance, feels much less authentically mean than in Joe Mantello’s original (which itself fell short of the All-Star sniping in the 1973 movie classic Bang the Drum Slowly). Antagonism of, and toward, the non-native born players (Julian Cihi, Hiram Delgado, and Eduardo Ramos) gets lost in the shuffle."