Tony Award-Winning Play Plays Ball
IU’s Wells-Metz Theatre has a terrific production of Take Me Out, Richard Greenberg’s 2003 Tony Award-winning comedy about his love affair with baseball. Darkly confusing, tragic moments anchor what’s ultimately a comic paen to the game.
Henry McDaniel has played a series of brooding villains in various productions at IU, so it was a joy to see him in Take Me Out as the thoughtfully comic intellectual of the dugout. In a production where all the actors did a fine job, it was McDaniel’s role that set the neatly balanced tone of the evening.
Yet Jaysen Wright was a charmer as the all star player who comes out of the closet. He gracefully took on the role of a character so blessed that he innocently doesn’t believe that normal rules apply to him. Adrian Burks gave an earnest performance as the friend who initially urges his coming out, but is appalled by the results of his encouragement. Taylor Crousore was powerful as a hard throwing, nearly inarticulate, racist hillbilly around whom the tragedy develops.
As a couple of Spanish-spouting ball players, Joseph Arellano and Sam Platt were great fun, and in another facet on the international face of baseball, Dominic Lim was moody and quiet as the Japanese pitcher whose ethos and back story emerge mostly in translation. Kelly Lusk came up to bat as the noncommital manager, as did Kyle Hendricks as a dimwitted player, Neil Unger as a young catcher and Jeremy Frankenthal as a confused fan.
Behind The Scenes
Director Jonathan Courtemanche’s last two projects, for the Norvelle Center, were as assistant director for large Shakespeare productions. With Take Me Out he wields a small cast through a complex, modern show with aplomb. Some credit for the show’s success is also due to Nick Passfiume, whose scenic design situates the audience around a baseball diamond, with views into the showers, the office, a club and a prison holding cell.
When All’s Said And Done
The final scene of the play features Neal Utterback as the outed major leaguer’s accountant. There will be time later on to reflect on the darker aspects and problems of the story; for now, let’s close by paying homage to the accountant’s speech, a truly uplifting monologue of overpowering joy about the wonders of the game from a newly besotted fan.
Take Me Out
Richard Greenberg's 2003 Tony Award-winning comedic play about his love affair with baseball.
Wells-Metz Theater, Indiana University
March 26-27 & 30-31, and April 1-3