Act II Playhouse to Stage ROUNDING THIRD, 9/9-10/12

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Act II Playhouse to Stage ROUNDING THIRD, 9/9-10/12

Act II Playhouse begins its 16th season with Rounding Third by Richard Dresser, a comedy about two mismatched little league coaches. Previews begin Tuesday, Sept. 9. Due to popularity, the show has already extended until Oct. 12.

Rounding Third stars Act II Artistic Director Tony Braithwaite as Michael, a new assistant coach on his son's little league team, who is an office worker with little knowledge of baseball. New York actor Michael Basile stars as Don, the win-at-all-costs veteran head coach, who works as a house painter.

"I love the Odd Couple nature of Rounding Third," Braithwaite said. "It's a funny and touching play."

Directed by Matt Silva, Rounding Third is one of the most popular plays about sports ever to be written, with hundreds of productions around the country. The play also touches on larger themes of family, parenting, and friendship.

"I was attracted to this play because it beautifully captures the human desire to love and be loved," Silva said. "It doesn't allow us to take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is key!"

Tickets for Rounding Third at Act II Playhouse are $24-$35. Discounts are available for subscribers, students, groups of 10 or more, and seniors (65+). Tickets are available online at http://www.act2.org, by calling the Act II box office at (215) 654-0200, or in person at 56 E. Butler Ave. in Ambler.

Silva is a Philadelphia-area native who recently moved back to the region after receiving his MFA in Directing from the Florida State University. He is a lifelong Phillies fan who fondly recalls playing catch with his father on their front lawn.

"Getting a chance to direct a play that fuses my passion for sports, theatre, and laughter is too good to be true!" Silva said.

The design team includes Scenic Designer Adam Riggar, Lighting Designer Jim Leitner, Costume Designer Jillian Rose Keys, and Sound Designer Larry Fowler.

Playwright Richard Dresser got the idea for the play when he learned that his son's little league coach was planning to cheat.

"When my son announced that his Little League coaches were putting in new 'strategy' for the playoffs that involved cheating, I was, as a parent, horrified," said Dresser, who teaches at Rutgers. "But as a playwright I immediately saw this as a perfect example of how the desire to win in children's sports has gone wildly off track. And, by extension, it encapsulated an obsession with achievement at the expense of simply doing what's right which seems to permeate our entire culture. I knew I would have to write about it because it was a simple incident on a Little League team that suggested so much more."

Braithwaite agreed that the play is about much more than sports.

"Much like the movie The Natural, or the musical Damn Yankees, or even the song, 'Put Me in Coach,' you don't need to know baseball to enjoy this," Braithwaite said.

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