Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson has joined the cast of the Broadway-bound Take Me Out, the Richard Greenberg play being revived next spring with director Scott Ellis and starring the previously announced Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy).
Ferguson will play the role of Mason Marzac, a “money manager who develops a surprising and all-encompassing love for baseball.” Denis O’Hare won a Featured Actor/play Tony Award for his performance in the original 2003 Broadway production.
The revival will mark Ferguson’s return to Second Stage after appearing in 2003’s Off Broadway production of Little Fish and 2005’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway.
Greenberg’s Take Me Out debuted in London in 2002 before opening Off Broadway at The Public Theater and then transferring in 2003 to Broadway, where it won that year’s Tony Award for best play.
The plot concerns a superstar center fielder for the fictional New York Empires who decides to come out as gay. As described by Second Stage, the player “is forced to contend with the challenges of being a gay person of color within the confines of a classic American institution. As the Empires struggle to rally toward a championship season, the players and their fans begin to question tradition, their loyalties, and the price of victory.”
Though fiction, the play in its original go-round drew considerable speculation as to the inspirations for the characters. Derek Jeter was the prime contender for the about-to-come-out player (false), while controversial Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was almost certainly the inspiration for the racist Shane Mungitt character (played originally by Frederick Weller; the character’s casting in the revival has not been announced).
Ferguson’s character, Mason Marzac, seems likely to have been inspired by the Oakland Athletics’ statistics-based approach to the game that was soon to be chronicled in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball.
The revival’s director Scott Ellis has been nominated for a 2019 Tony Award for his direction of the musical Tootsie.