Celebrating Mark Spitz, the First Olympic Sex Symbol (September 1972)
Michelangelo's "David" is Unveiled in Florence (September 8, 1504)

"Take Me Out" Explores Impact of Openly Gay Baseball Player on Teammates (September 5, 2002)




My most lasting memory of the 1994 revival of the musical Damn Yankees was its jaunty shower scene while the players sang HeartTake Me Out, another show I saw with a baseball theme, also had a memorable shower scene, but with a completely different, and hotter, tone.  It opened off-Broadway at the Public Theater on September 5, 2002.  




While Damn Yankees was a light musical about a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming a major league baseball player, Take Me Out was a drama that explored how a team was impacted after one of its star players, portrayed by Daniel Sunjata (pictured), came out.  This premise was somewhat topical at the time because a few years earlier hunky New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza called a press conference to deny rumors dogging him that he was gay.  




Whereas the shower scene in Damn Yankees had each player in separate shower stalls with doors that restricted the view between each player's calves and waist (while they sang the song Heart), Take Me Out's scene took place in an open shower with two totally nude ballplayers (except for shower shoes) having a somewhat sexually charged conversation as they soap up.  It was largely because of this scene that gay men who weren't the least bit interested in baseball eagerly lined up to get tickets.  


Six months after opening, Take Me Out went to Broadway where it won the Tony Award for Best Play - and openly gay actor Denis O'Hare won for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.  (Sunjata also received a nomination.)






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