Rounding Third
Colony Theatre


It’s a daunting task for any small theatre company trying to stay afloat in our parched cultural oasis to choose a season that will be innovative and fresh while offering themes universal enough to attract an audience. For those of us whose knowledge of America’s pastime is that baseballs are round and the sticks that connect with them are long cylinders made of wood, be forewarned that Rounding Third, a production transplanted to the Colony from Laguna Playhouse, takes place on a nearly bare outfield set, featuring a pair of rather unoriginal adversarial characters whose world revolves around coaching an unseen little league team.


Well, hold me down and buy me some peanuts and crackerjack, because this one is a surprising homerun. Its accessibility is largely due to Richard Dresser’s ability to make his stereotypical sports-driven suburban dads real despite their clichéd responses to the things that happen while working together to lead their kiddies to victory, but surely without the accomplished participation of director Andrew Barnicle and his golden two-person cast, this might easily be lost.

Dresser’s predictable tale could instead become a midwestern dinner theatre Odd Couple in sweatpants and baseball caps, but under Barnicle’s gentle guidance, Jerry Kernion and Kevin Symonds as the diametrically different small-town coaches bounce off one another with consummate skill. Kernion’s loud and abrasive ball-scratcher Don could wear out an audience quickly were it not for the layers of vulnerability and pathos the actor finds lurking just under the crusty surface and, as his soft-spoken new assistant coach Michael, Symonds balances his larger-than-life costar with exquisite restraint and simplicity.


One of the most interesting side effects of producing a play about baseball to an audience peppered largely by loyal older subscribers is, for once, during Rounding Third the wives are the ones nodding out in the first 20 minutes rather than those bored spouses they’ve been dragging along all these years.

Rounding Third plays through May 13 at the Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; for tickets, call (818) 558-7000.

TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER teaches acting and theatre/film history at the New York Film Academy’s west coast campus at Universal Studios. He has been writing about LA theatre since 1987, including 12 years for BackStage, a 23-year tenure as Theatre Editor for Entertainment Today, and currently for As an actor, he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Best Actor Award as Kenneth Halliwell in the west coast premiere of Nasty Little Secrets at Theatre/Theater and he has also been honored with a Drama-Logue Award as Lennie in Of Mice and Men at the Egyptian Arena, four Maddy Awards, a Award, both NAACP and GLAAD Award nominations, and six acting nominations from LA Weekly. Regionally, he won the Inland Theatre League Award as Ken Talley in Fifth of July; three awards for his direction and performance as Dr. Dysart in Equus; was up for Washington, DC’s Helen Hayes honors as Oscar Wilde in the world premiere of Oscar & Speranza; toured as Amos “Mr. Cellophane” Hart in Chicago; and he has traveled three times to New Orleans for the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, opening the fest in 2003 as Williams himself in Lament for the Moths and since returning to appear in An Ode to Tennessee and opposite Karen Kondazian as A Witch and a Bitch. Never one to suffer from typecasting, Travis’ most recent LA performance, as Rodney in The Katrina Comedy Fest, netted the cast a Best Ensemble Sage Award from ArtsInLA. He has also been seen as Wynchell in the world premiere of Moby Pomerance’s The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder and Frank in Charles Mee’s Summertime at The Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Giuseppe “The Florist” Givola in Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui for Classical Theatre Lab, Ftatateeta in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra at the Lillian, Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Rubicon in Ventura, Pete Dye in the world premiere of Stranger at the Bootleg (LA Weekly Award nomination), Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Egyptian Arena, the Witch of Capri in Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore at the Fountain, and Dr. Van Helsing in The House of Besarab at the Hollywood American Legion Theatre. As a writer, he has also been a frequent contributor to several national magazines and five of his plays have been produced in LA. His first, Surprise Surprise, for which he wrote the screenplay with director Jerry Turner, became a feature film with Travis playing opposite John Brotherton, Luke Eberl, Deborah Shelton and Mary Jo Catlett. His first novel, Waiting for Walk, was completed in 2005, put in a desk drawer, and the ever-slothful, ever-deluded, ever-entitled Travis can’t figure out why no one has magically found it yet and published the goddam thing.