Considering Grey's Anatomy only had two episodes left to air in Season 17 following longtime star Jesse Williams' highly publicized exit on May 20, the ABC drama's fans didn't technically have very long to reflect on his absence within the show, and it's assumed that the Jackson Avery-sized void will be more of a noticeable element in Season 18 this fall. But the actor's fans need not feel as if he'll be missing from the medium forever, as Williams has already lined up his next big TV project.
As it happens, Jesse Williams will be taking on a familiar role for his return to TV, though perhaps not one as familiar as his Grey's Anatomy character. According to Deadline, the Image Award-winning actor is set to head up a limited series TV adaptation of the Tony-winning play Take Me Out, whose Broadway revival also stars Williams in the same (nudity-friendly) role.
In Take Me Out, Jesse Williams will portray Darren Lemming, a mixed-race baseballer playing for the (fictional) Empires in the early 2000s. Cue all kinds of drama when Darren decides to come out, which tends to be a controversial choice in the sports world, and Take Me Out will shine its outfield lights on the age-old prejudices and bigotries on display on the field, in the stands, and in the locker room. Caught within the struggle of wanting to be himself within the job that he loves, Darren faces a steep upward climb in squashing beefs with friends and teammates as the Empires embark on a successful season, all while coming to terms with the singularity of being a gay baseball player of color. It's definitely an important and meaningful story that Williams will no doubt excel at bringing to life .
Take Me Out's creator, playwright Richard Greenberg, will be the driving creative force behind the TV show as well, as he'll be adapting the play in episodic form. Greenberg first brought the project to the stage back in 2002 as an Off-Broadway show, but quickly made the jump to Broadway just five months later. It closed on January 4, 2004, after the cast and crew had put on 355 productions, winning three Tony Awards in 2003, and that includes Best Play.
The Broadway revival for Take Me Out was already set in stone back in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and caused delays across the entire entertainment industry. The current plan is for the revival performances to kick off at the Helen Hayes Theater in springtime 2022, with Second Stage Theater producing the stage version. On the TV side of things, Anonymous Content will be the studio in charge.
At this time, Jesse Williams is the only cast member who has been announced, though we do know that Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Weeds and Frasier vet Scott Ellis will be handling directing duties for the TV adaptation, just as he's doing for the Broadway revival. However, it's unclear at this point whether or not Williams' on-stage co-stars Patrick J. Adams (Suits) or Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) will be able to also join the small-screen iteration.
Jesse Williams joined the Grey's Anatomy cast back in 2009, likely without a clue just how impactful he and his character would be over the next 12 years on the ABC drama. Still, it was time to call it quits in 2021, and Williams did a good job of keeping things quiet until Jackson's exit became evident on the show itself. He hasn't ruled out future returns, and also doesn't seem to be against the idea of a Jackson spinoff, but it looks like Williams will be quite busy for the foreseeable future.
As Take Me Out continues its pre-production process, it's assumed that networks will start to line up in attempts to acquire the project in the near future. Meanwhile, Grey's Anatomy is just one of many highly anticipated shows making returns for the 2021 Fall TV schedule, so don't get left behind!
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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