BOTTOM LINE: A decent, low budget staging of an award winning play.
The Heights Players has produced theatre in Brooklyn Heights for well over 50 years and I had the pleasure of being introduced to this established company on the final performance of their production of Richard Greenberg's 2003 Tony Award winning play Take Me Out. I have to be honest and say that I wasn't expecting that much from this under-the-radar theatre company, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The performances, for the most part, were very, very strong and the production was pretty solid. I absolutely love the space and the neighborhood and think that The Heights Players is a company to take notice of.
Take Me Out tells the story of The Empires as they set out on a winning season and deal with the struggles of their star player coming out of the closet. It deals with the insecurities that most men face about homosexuality in an unabashed and very frank nature. Perhaps the best example of this is Toddy Kovitz, played by Mike Basile, who gives a fearless and extremely hilarious performance as the guy 's guy who feels that now he has to be worried about his newly outed teammate staring at his ass while he's changing. Basile tackles a role that easily could have become one dimensional and cliché and transforms Kovitz into a loveable character that during his short time on stage nearly steals the show. The honor of biggest show stealer clearly goes to Nathan Richard Wagner who plays a neurotic, flamboyant business manger with a ton of heart and subtle comedic skill. He waxes poetic about the appeal of baseball and how it is a perfect metaphor for hope in a democratic society and how the thing that makes baseball truly great is that everyone always has a chance to win no matter what. There are no time limits and even in the last minute, you could come out victorious. Wagner created one of the best moments of the entire evening and should be commended for his deft and tender performance. Seth Grugle is also quite a standout in the very thankless role of the loyal best friend and narrator.
All and all, this was a good production. If it is any indication of the work that The Heights Players normally produce, I am excited to see what they tackle in the future. The tickets are only $15 and drinks are only $3, so if you're looking for something to do in Brooklyn Heights, check out what's happening at The Heights Players.
For more information about upcoming shows visit heightsplayers.org.