Deadline has confirmed that Empire actor Jussie Smollett read for a leading role in next year’s Broadway revival of Richard Greenberg’s 2003 Tony-winning play Take Me Out but is no longer in the running.
Britain’s Daily Mail has reported that Smollett was “cut” from the 2020 Second Stage Theater revival of the play about a mixed-race baseball star who comes out as gay. The publication reported that Zachary Quinto was set to co-star.
A source close to the production tells Deadline that Smollett did indeed read for the lead role in January but that no casting decisions had, or have, been made. While Smollett is no longer in the picture, his casting apparently never proceeded to anything firm before the January 29 incident in Chicago that police say was a hate crime hoax perpetrated by Smollett for career advancement and attention.
Last week, the city of Chicago sued Smollett for $130,106 in costs of the police investigation (16 felony counts against the actor had been dropped, prompting ongoing controversy).
Smollett read for the role of main character Darren Lemming, a center fielder played in the 2003 Broadway staging by Daniel Sunjata. Lemming’s coming out proves to be a challenge for some of his teammates and their friendships.
The production, announced last month, will be directed by Scott Ellis as part of Second Stage’s 2019-20 season. Previews are set to begin March 31, 2020, with opening night on April 23.