The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings





Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants









Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Review
Rounding Third

How do we have fun playing baseball?. . . winning!---Don
Fun is playing. . . not winning---Michael
Robert Clohessy, Matthew Arkin
(L to R): Robert Clohessy, Matthew Arkin (Photo: Bruce Glikas
The New York premiere of Richard Dresser's Rounding Third marks CurtainUp's third time at bat with a review. As Jana Monji did in Laguna Beach and Gordon Osmond in San Diego, I enjoyed this Odd Couple with a baseball background -- especially since I've graduated from Little League mom to Little League grandma. Jana, Gordon and I all saw different casts which makes it safe to conclude that Dresser, though telling his story with just two characters, has made those characters juicy enough to enable any number of talented, well-matched actors to hit a home run.

The two home run hitters in the New York premiere that opened Tuesday at the Houseman Theater are Matthew Arkin and Robert Clohessy. And what a made-for-each other pair of totally incompatible coaches for the same Little League Team they are!

Clohessy is terrific as a beer drinking blue collar guy (he's a house painter when not Coach Don). Don is an experienced, hard-driving coach, and himself an ex-athlete. Arkin's Assistant Coach Michael is a cell-phone carrying, businessman who prefers Latte to beer and believes Little Leaguers should be more concerned with the fun of playing than winning or losing. Even when he seems content to be Clohessy's nerdish "straight man" a strong streak of stubborn courage is evident enough to make the turnaround in this mismatched relationship completely convincing.

The whole setup of the opposites thrown together by the simple fact that each has a twelve-year-old son smacks of stereotype and the situations developing from their differences are indeed stereotypical. Don's son is, as might be expected, the team's star pitcher while Michael's can't pitch or catch, or even keep his shoelaces tied. Don's romance with one of the kids' moms not only turns out to be mere bravado whereas his wife turns out to be having a very real affair with a man he considered a friend. Michael's career is also something of a facade.

Mr. Dresser, abetted by Arkin and Clohessy's spot-on timing, proves that good writing can make even stock situations work. He has an uncanny knack for making hairpin turns from funny to serious -- and back to funny before seriousness (as when Michael talks about his wife's death) has a chance to become maudlin.

Given his deft gift for writing comedy with serious underpinnings, one wonders why Mr. Dresser felt it necessarily to lean so heavily on some of the shtick about Michael fighting Don's insistence on calling him Mike or Mikey and fitting the team's gear into a bag that seems too small. John Rando, master of snap-crackle-pop pacing, while keeping this production moving along with nary a moment of tedious bench sitting, seems to have allowed these flaws, or what Gordon Osmond referred to as the "cork in the bat, " to carry over from the previous productions.

Derek McLane has turned the Houseman's space into a reasonable facsimile of a Little League playing field in a park of a small town near any big city, complete with a chain link fence and a parking area in which to park and make good use of Don's van. Since I saw quite a lot of teenagers in the audience on the night I attended a caveat: Anyone expecting Field of Dreams will be disappointed. No chance of catching a real stray fly ball, just two entertaining hours getting to know two ordinary but inordinately likeable guys who happen to be Little League coaches.

Reviews of Rounding Third in Laguna Beach and San Diego
Review of a previous Off-Broadway produced Dresser comedy, Gun-Shy

Written by Richard Dresser
Directed by John Rando
Cast: Matthew Arkin and Robert Clohessy
Set Design: Derek McClain.
Costume Design:
Lighting Design: G. Mitchell Dana
Sound Design: Jill B. C. DuBoff
Original Music: Robert Reale
Running time: 2 hours, plus an intermission
John Houseman, 450 W. 42nd St, 212-239-6200
From 9/16/03; opening 10/07/03
Tuesday through Saturday at 8PM, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2PM and Sunday matinees at 3PM. All tickets are $55.
The open run turned into a limited run, with a 12/07/03 closing date.
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer based on October 3rd press preview performance
At This Theater Cover
At This Theater

Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam

metaphors dictionary cover
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.

The Broadway Theatre Archive


Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from