Patrick J. Adams goes to bat and strips in his standout Broadway debut

Six years ago, Patrick J. Adams ended a month-long run in a California production of the play “The Last Match” feeling he had been overcome by stage fright, the kind he describes as a “hard and fast level of terror”. The experience, he said, left him convinced he would never perform on stage again.

But this spring, the Canadian actor confidently makes his Broadway debut in the acclaimed revival of “Take Me Out,” delivering a significant portion of his performance entirely nude. Most of his co-stars, including “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams, also appear in the buff throughout the series.

“My initial instinct was that I couldn’t go from being the guy who had panic attacks on stage to performing nude on Broadway,” Adams told HuffPost. “I thought, ‘This won’t work. I can not do that. It is too far.

“And then I read the script and I knew right away I had to do it. The play was too good to deny, the opportunity was too big and this group of people was too fantastic. I knew that if I said no to that, I said no to the theater for the rest of my life. It was like an opportunity to heal a big wound.

Adams (front) plays Kippy Sunderstrom, a member of the fictional New York Empires and the play’s narrator.

Written by Richard Greenberg and directed by Scott Ellis, “Take Me Out” portrays the New York Empires, a fictional Major League Baseball team. The team’s sense of camaraderie is tested when its only biracial player, Darren Lemming (Williams), reveals he’s gay.

Adams, best known for playing Mike Ross on USA Network’s legal drama “Suits,” stars as Kippy Sunderstrom, one of Lemming’s teammates and confidant. The character also serves as the play’s narrator, initiating several conversations about the toxic masculinity, racism, and homophobia embedded in the American pastime.

The original production of “Take Me Out” debuted on Broadway in 2003. Greenberg said that when he first wrote the play, he thought it wouldn’t be long before an active player in Major League becomes gay in the real world. Almost 20 years later, however, that still hasn’t happened.

Given America’s current political climate, which includes a startling pushback against LGBTQ rights in many conservative states, Adams thinks Greenberg’s narrative seems more urgent than ever.

“We live in a world where more and more people are talking – everyone is talking – but we still have a lot of trouble agreeing on all the hard stuff,” he said. “Great writers write to humanity. They write who we are, and for better or worse, it doesn’t change as much as we would like. Over time, the piece reveals to us how much work we have left to do. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

Adams (left) with co-stars Jesse Williams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson on the opening night of "take me out" in April.
Adams (left) with co-stars Jesse Williams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson at the “Take Me Out” opening night in April.

Bruce Glikas via Getty Images

As was the case in 2003, much of the revival buzz has focused on the play’s locker room scenes, during which the majority of the cast appear naked.

“In rehearsals, we would come to the shower scene and do it dressed. Then we did it in our underwear,” Adams recalled. “We always focused on what we were there to say. Once the water was the right temperature and all that, we were like, ‘OK, we’re going to be naked today’. It felt like a natural progression.

The show’s creative team has gone to great lengths to ensure that no footage of onstage nudity is shared online, and viewers must have their phones locked in sealed pockets before sunrise. curtain. Although Adams anticipated “yelling and screaming” when he and his co-stars dropped their towels in front of an audience for the first time, he was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful response.

“People see the showers coming down and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s it.’ There’s a few gasps,” he said. “You hear a little shuffling and whispering, and then it’s over. We’ve all seen naked bodies before, and there’s nothing very sexual about it. or exciting in the scene. It’s not gratuitous nudity, and it’s a beautifully written scene.

"I knew that if I said no to that, I would say no to theater for the rest of my life," said Adams.
“I knew if I said no to that, I would say no to acting for the rest of my life,” Adams said.

Although Adams has joked in interviews about his lack of real interest in the sport, he will be spending more time on the baseball field when he returns to television later this year. The actor has a recurring role in Amazon’s upcoming “A League of Their Own” series, created by “Broad City” star Abbi Jacobson and inspired by the beloved 1992 film of the same name.

Adams hasn’t seen any of the finished series yet, but said the tone on set was “very different from the movie, but in a great way.”

“Abbi is a genius and has carved her own path through this material,” he added. “She had a very specific reason why she wanted to do it. The women I worked with were simply outstanding. I think people who love the movie will also love the show, but for completely new and different reasons.

By all accounts, “Take Me Out” is a hit on Broadway — no easy task in a busy theater season that continues to struggle with COVID-19-related shutdowns and other unexpected setbacks. Last month, it was announced that the play would extend its run for two weeks and is now set to end on June 11.

And if all goes according to plan, Adams hopes “Take Me Out” will be “the first of many, many Broadway experiences.”

“Theatre is once again part of my life. I don’t have to be afraid of it anymore,” he said. “I’m super excited to see what’s next. I’m attracted to brilliant people and consider myself lucky if they want me to be in the same room. I seek to serve great, visionary people, if they accept me.

“Take Me Out” is currently playing at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York City.


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