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Meet the Nominees: Jesse Williams

Broadway and Beyond at the Tonys: Jesse Williams
Broadway and Beyond at the Tonys: Jesse Williams 03:31

NEW YORK -- Broadway is abuzz after nominations for the 75th Annual Tony Awards were announced.

The trophies will be handed out on June 12 on CBS2, and CBS2's Dave Carlin got the chance to interview some of the nominees in person at the annual "Meet the Nominees" event.

Former "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams earned a Tony nod for his Broadway debut in the revival of the play "Take Me Out." He's up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. Two of his co-stars, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Michael Oberholtzer, are also nominated in the same category.

"You've been in ensemble stuff, so you know how to share the..." Carlin said.

"Yes, yes, that's true," Williams said.

"They win, you're happy, you win, you're happy," Carlin said.

"Yeah, it's all a win," Williams said.

"Is it?" Carlin said.

"Yeah. This is crazy. You know, this is, I've never done a play before," Williams said. "It's a big challenge and I respect it. You know, I respect the community, I respect the stage, I respect the storytelling, and it's already been done before. It's already won Best Play. There's a high level of expectation, and I know that I was looking for a challenge. I was looking to be really terrified and try something new and be unfamiliar and be a student again, and be learning."

Williams stars as Darren Lemming, a Major League Baseball player who comes out as gay.

"Yeah and something that is very, very even extra meaningful to the LGBTQ+ community," Carlin said. "The visibility matters, and that we don't have an out star baseball player ... and then we watch you and say it could be him and somebody who conducts himself this way about it."

"Yeah, that's really wonderful to hear because, you know, representation matters, and it's what, you know, taking an idea from theory to practice, seeing something, right? Folks pursue attainable goals. People are scared to be the first one of the dance floor, but when you see, what would it be like? Oh, alright. You're walking through examples of challenges and obstacles and hurdles and rewards and, all of those things are real in this examination of a theoretical future that we hope will be a practical one very soon," Williams said.

Williams added, "I'm really really learning and asking a lot of questions, and that's what we're doing to our audience, right? We're challenging them to really kind of wrestle with some of these ideas and, even in a universal sense, relationships and heteronormative male, macho BS, fragile relationships that present themselves as so strong and solid, when they're often hollow inside and aren't really, you're not really communicating, you're not really being honest or intimate or truthful. What is it like to be vulnerable and, you know, as an actor a lot of, we are kind of stripped down and exposed and vulnerable, so it's cool to tell a story that you believe in and it all begins with [playwright] Richard Greenburg."

"Take Me Out" is running at the Hayes Theater through June 11.

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