Basketball star takes on new role

He has been named among the best shooters on the hardwood but on Wednesday Gonzaga University Guard Steven Gray is stepping onto a different kind of stage.

This is his first big acting endeavor for Gray and it all stated when he went to see a friend in a play last summer and the director approached him about doing this show. Gray said it has been a learning experience and he has shown himself that he can do other things besides basketball.

“It was terrifying. There were some days when my way to rehearsal or audition, I was like ‘what are you doing? Do you really understand what?s going on here? You’re going to be in a play at some point,'” Gray said.

The play presents a challenging roll for Gray. He plays the lead in “Take Me Out,” a Tony Award-winning show. His character is a professional baseball player who comes out of the closet in the opening scene.

“Any young man, creed, whatever, can go out there and become a ball player or an interior decorator,” Gray said. “I’m just acting like anyone else, or attempting to.”

Director Kevin Connell cast Gray and he believes the young man has a lot of talent as an actor.

“I’ve always found that athletes are very good actors because it’s very similar. You’re out in front of a group of people doing something that requires a lot of concentration to pay attention to the crowd and shut them out,”Connell said.

“So much of what goes into something most of the audience or fans don’t see,” said Gray.

For a month and a half, Gray has been rehearsing his lines, practicing basketball, and studying.

“My midterms were the best they’ve ever been and I was like, ‘where is this coming from?’ I guess I am so busy from one thing to the other. I don’t have time to stop and relax,” Gray said.

“I absolutely wonder how he does it all,” Connell said.

On Saturday night, the lights come up on a more familiar stage for Gray as he plays in the opening game of the basketball season, but in the meantime he says he’s focused on playing this new role.

“It was difficult to do something this far outside my box. It’s been fun though,” Gray said.

The show opens Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and it runs through Friday night. There is some adult language and subject matter in the play, which may not be suitable for children.