• Jesse Tyler Ferguson won Best Performance By a Featured Actor at the 2022 Tony Awards
  • He beat out his "Take Me Out" co-stars Michael Oberholtzer and Jesse Williams
  • The 46-year-old gave an emotional acceptance speech following the recognition

Former “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson has won his first Tony Award. The actor won Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play at the 75th Tony Awards for his role in the gay baseball play “Take Me Out,” which was revived this year after 20 years.

In his emotional acceptance speech, Ferguson explained why “Take Me Out” holds a special place in his heart. “Twenty-five years ago, I worked at the Theatre Circle gift shop on 44th Street, which happens to be three doors down from the Hayes Theater, where ‘Take Me Out’ is playing,” he recalled, as per ET Online.

“And I would sit in there and I would be folding my ‘Phantom of the Opera’ t-shirts and watching actors walking by the windows on the way to their half-hour call and I thought, ‘Oh God, I hope that’s me someday.’ So to stand in front of this community I admire and love so much just means so much to me. I cannot believe I get to do this for a living,” he added.

The 46-year-old also expressed gratitude to his parents, his colleagues on “Take Me Out”, and his husband Justin Mikita. “I have to brag for a brief moment. Justin was part of the producing team that brought 'Dana H' and 'Is This a Room' to Broadway this season. I am so endlessly proud of you—and you have incredible taste, obviously,” he said.

With the Tony win, Ferguson beat out two of his “Take Me Out” co-stars, Michael Oberholtzer and Jesse Williams, who made headlines for his racy scenes in the play. Other actors nominated in the category included Alfie Allen for “Hangmen,” Chuck Cooper for “Trouble in Mind,” and Ron Cephas for “Clyde’s.”

“Take Me Out,” revolves around baseball player Darren Lemming coming out as gay and dealing with the disapproval of his teammates and fans. It was nominated for four Tony Awards, and earlier this year, Ferguson explained in an interview with ET why the story is still just as relevant today as it was when it first hit the stage two decades ago.

“When I saw the play, it was very timely. But I thought, ‘Probably in two years it won’t be anymore,’” he said. “And here we are 20 years later, and racism and homophobia are still very relevant,” he explained, adding that there’s still a lot to be done when it comes to LGBTQ representation in the world of professional sports.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (R) and his partner Justin Mikita arrive at The Trevor Project's "Trevor Live" fundraising dinner in Hollywood December 4, 2011. REUTERS