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Thursday, May 12, 2005 06:45 pm

backstage pass 5-12-05


Springfield gets its first look next week at Rounding Third, a new comedy by Richard Dresser that played off-Broadway and has been a hit in theaters around the country. Jason Goodreau and Mac Warren, two local actors, are responsible for the Springfield production, and they play the lead roles.

Rounding Third follows Don, a tough, blue-collar, win-at-all costs veteran Little League coach, and Michael, a newcomer to the game, from their first meeting to their climactic championship game.

“I’ve been a coach for many years,” Goodreau says, “and this show talks about some of the real challenges one faces. Most importantly, though, it made me laugh. You’ll watch this show and say, ‘That’s me,’ or ‘That’s that guy I know.’ ”

Rounding Third is the first show for ADHD Entertainment Productions, Goodreau and Warren’s new company. “Both Jason and I have attention and hyperactivity issues,” says Warren, “but that just makes this production company stronger. We view ADHD as an advantage in this case, not a barrier.”

Future plans for the new company include David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross and a Jonathan Larson musical, Tick, Tick . . . Boom!

Rounding Third plays here at 7 p.m. May 20, 21, 27, and 28 in the Club Room at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. For ticket information, call 217-523-2787.

Among other shows of note:

• The Museum of Funeral Customs continues to offer innovative theatrical presentations, and one such program takes place this Saturday, May 14, when John Avery of Manchester, Mo., portrays a Civil War embalming surgeon. Avery, a licensed funeral director who dresses in period costume for the re-enactment, will present the program throughout the day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, call 217-544-3480.

• The Jacksonville Theatre Guild concludes a run of a wonderful play, The Boys Next Door, this weekend, May 13-15. Boys is a comedy/drama about mentally challenged men who live in a group home. It’s a serious subject, but the play is written with great sensitivity and respect. It’s also funny and heartwarming — things we can always use a dose of. The Guild production is playing at the Sophie Leschin Theatre in Jacksonville Community Park (by the Ferris wheel). For ticket information, call 217-245-1402.

• Debbie Reynolds comes to town for a one-show performance at 8 p.m. Friday, May 20, in the Sangamon Auditorium. Reynolds, a show-business veteran starred in the 1952 classic Singing in the Rain, played the title role in Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), was nominated for an Academy Award for 1964’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), gave a critically acclaimed performance in the 1996 film Mother with Albert Brooks, and now plays Debra Messing’s mom in television’s Will & Grace.

In the 1970s, Reynolds starred on Broadway in a revival of the 1920s musical Irene. The show became a long-running hit, and Reynolds toured the country with it. The night I saw the show at the Muny Opera in St. Louis, it started raining. Before it began raining so hard that the show had to be stopped, Reynolds, trouper that she is, decided to sit on a stool out there on the stage, under an umbrella, and sing songs and tell anecdotes.The audience of 12,000 sat there in the rain! That’s the old “show must go on” attitude. For tickets to Reynolds’ show, call 217-206-6160.

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