Jesse Williams Talks Nude Broadway Scene Ahead Of Grey's Anatomy Return And One Change That's Needed

Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Grey’s Anatomy fans got some good news in regards to what’s ahead this season, as Jesse Williams announced he will make another appearance on the medical drama during Season 19. But aside from reprising his role as the fan-favorite Jackson Avery, the actor has been making a splash on the Great White Way. While his Broadway debut as Darren Lemming in Take Me Out was met with rave reviews and even a Tony Award nomination, the actor discussed one thing that needs to change in regards to his being naked on stage every night.

Take Me Out is the story of Darren Lemming, a Major League Baseball player who comes out as gay at the height of his career. The actors appear on stage nude, showering in locker room scenes, and Jesse Williams said at Variety’s Business of Broadway breakfast that he’d love for that hot water to make its way through the pipes a little quicker. He joked: 

[The water] has to get pushed through the pipes. When it first comes out, it’s not friendly. You’ve all seen ‘Seinfeld’… shrinkage.

We certainly don't want Jesse Williams to feel short-changed, but instantly warm water coming through the Broadway theater’s plumbing might be a tall order. And probably not in specific terms of shrinkage, but the discomfort that comes with the nudity, especially as it pertains to the male ego, is part of what those scenes are about, with Williams pointing out: 

The audience needs to be confronted with what we’re confronted with. We have to look at each other’s dicks every day. We have to be naked every day. As an audience, you have to decide whether to look up or down. We joke that we should ask, ‘What did they say in that scene?’ Many of you don’t know.

Much fuss was made about Jesse Williams baring it all on stage following his exit from Grey’s Anatomy in 2021, but the number of people checking out his anatomy grew exponentially after a theatergoer illegally recorded footage from one of his performances and leaked it on social media. While the actor refused to let the incident affect his job, the Broadway world denounced the perpetrator’s actions, with Williams’ co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson speaking out about the importance of a safe space for actors to be vulnerable. The Second Stage Theater also increased security measures following the violation.

Especially given what the actor experienced, one can’t really blame him for thinking at least a little about shrinkage. For those unfamiliar with one of George Costanza’s funniest moments on Seinfeld, check out what all the fuss is about: 

When Jackson Avery meets up with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) on the November 3 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, he will not be accompanied by April Kepner (Sarah Drew), after Japril revealed they’d gotten back together during a guest appearance on the ABC hit’s Season 18 finale. However, with Drew and Jesse Williams both expressing interest in a spinoff for their characters, there’s always hope. Grey’s airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.