New Richard Dresser Play, Rounding Third, Steps Up to the Plate Off-Bway, Sept. 16

News   New Richard Dresser Play, Rounding Third, Steps Up to the Plate Off-Bway, Sept. 16 Matthew Arkin, who appeared in the Chicago-area world premiere of Richard Dresser's Rounding Third, a tale of Little League dads, will star in the comedy's Off-Broadway debut, starting Sept. 16 at the John Houseman Theatre.

John Rando, Tony Award-winning director of Urinetown, will stage the production, opening Oct. 7. Eric Krebs produces with Ted Tulchin, Robert G. Bartner and Chase Mishkin. Arkin's castmate is Robert Clohessy (of Manhattan Theatre Club's Bad Habits).

"Rounding Third introduces us to two coaches — one a veteran, the other a new recruit — and their markedly different personal circumstances and philosophies about the game," according to production notes. "Their clash of styles and wills drives this funny, acerbic and touching play through the bumpy terrain of fatherhood and baseball."

Rounding Third was inspired by playwright Dresser's own coaching experiences. Dresser's plays include Wonderful World, What Are You Afraid Of?, Below the Belt, The Downside, Alone at the Beach, Better Days, Bait & Switch, Bed & Breakfast and Splitsville.

The play premiered in fall 2002 at Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL, featuring George Wendt and Arkin. It has since played productions at Laguna Playhouse and San Diego's Old Globe Theatre (with Tom McGowan and Jeffrey Hutchinson). It plays San Jose Rep in early 2004.

Designers are Derek McLane (set) and F. Mitchell Dana (lighting). Rando's directorial credits also include Dance of the Vampires, Neil Simon's The Dinner Party, Mere Mortals and Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight.

Krebs' projects have included Broadway's Electra, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and the current Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home, as well as Off-Broadway's Little Ham and Serenade the World.

Tickets are $55. The John Houseman Theatre is at 450 W. 42nd Street. For information, call (212) 239-6200. For group sales, call (212) 967-7079.