We asked 2nd Stages producer Dale Albright to answer a few questions about his production of Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg. Here's what he had to say...
Dragon: How did you first encounter Take Me Out?
Dale: I had the pleasure of the seeing the Broadway production of Take Me Out in 2003. From the moment I saw it, it was a show that I always hoped I would be involved in someday.
Dragon: You’re the first 2nd Stages producer who’s not also directing. You’re an excellent director yourself, so what made you want to take on the role of Mason and not want to direct?
Dale: Since seeing that production over 10 years ago, this is a role that I have always wanted to play… in many ways I have felt like I was born to play the part. It has such a deep connection to me… like nothing I have ever experienced before or probably ever will again. When Meredith talked to me about the possibility of participating in the 2nd Stage Series, the chance to play this role brought me to tears. To say this is a passion project, is a vast understatement. There’s really no way I could be involved in this production and not play Mason.
Dragon: Why did you choose Ken Sonkin to spearhead this production?
Dale: Things have a way of working out. Honestly, since this play is so full of testosterone, it had been my original intention to have a woman direct the show. I talked to a few colleagues (some women, some not) but for a variety of reasons, they didn’t pan out. At this point, I truly can’t imagine anyone but Ken shepherding the project. I have known him for years and have always known him to have the exact mix of spirit needed for this kind of show: empathetic, a person of strong convictions, a team player, fun and all around good guy. He has a passion and knowledge for baseball and the art. As I am answering this question, I find myself getting very emotional, actually (and, like Mason: “I never cry about anything!”). I’m just so thankful that he was the person to help bring this project to life.
Dragon: The play, while written more than ten years ago, has become incredibly relevant this year in light of the announcement and then draft of Michael Sam. Has this affected your take on the production at all?
Dale: Who would have known 10 years ago that this play would become even more “real” as time has progressed? Recent developments such as Michael Sam (and the NBA’s Jason Collins), not to mention the fact that the national tide is definitely turning in terms of gay marriage, were definitely parts of the decision to place the setting of the play in current day.
Dragon: What have you all been doing to get into a baseball state of mind?
Dale: Baseball seems to be everyone I turn lately. I subscribe to a magazine called Mental Floss, which had a big baseball theme in its latest issue chock full of interesting trivia and stories about the history of baseball. Netflix even has a baseball on its movie jackets this month. For me, when channel surfing I would usually skip any baseball. Now I take them in. But the icing on the cake was that as a cast and crew we went to a local batting cage where we were trained by pros on pitching, catching and batting. And even I, who doesn’t have to touch a bat in the show, literally stepped up to the plate.
Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg plays in downtown Redwood City July 10 - 20th. For more information about the production, or to buy your tickets, please visit www.dragonproductions.net.