It's "Brush Up Your Baseball" for 2000 Tony Award nominee Michael Mulheren. The former Kiss Me, Kate gangster will star as the competitive, obsessive Little League coach Don in the West Coast premiere of Richard Dresser's two-man comedy, Rounding Third, playing Jan. 1-Feb. 2, 2003, at Laguna Playhouse.
Mulheren was nominated alongside his fellow gangster Lee Wilkof for Kiss Me, Kate for their rousing rendition of Cole Porter's "Brush Up Your Shakespeare." His other credits include Broadway's Titanic and On the Waterfront and the original Off-Broadway cast of Floyd Collins.
Los Angeles actor Kevin Symons plays Rounding Third's Michael, Don's assistant coach and an idealistic single parent, who feels it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. Naturally, this causes comic tension with Don's winner-take-all philosophy.
Rounding Third had its world premiere in October at the Chicago-area's Northlight Theatre. George Wendt ("Cheers") created the role of Don with Matthew Arkin (Off-Broadway's Dinner With Friends) as Michael. Richard Dresser's plays include Gun-Shy, Wonderful World, Something in the Air, Bait and Switch, Bed & Breakfast and Below the Belt.
Laguna Playhouse artistic director Andrew Barnicle directs. Barnicle's past collaborations with Dresser include the Southern California premiere of Gun-Shy and the West Coast premiere of Wonderful World. Tickets are $27-$49. Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. For reservations, call (949) 497-ARTS. Laguna Playhouse is on the web at http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
— By Christine Ehren