Multigenerational love story ‘On Golden Pond’ plays at THT

MIDDLEBURY — Poor Lost Circus Performers will perform “On Golden Pond,” the stage version of a beautiful story that was an Oscar-winning film (starring Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn), March 21-24 at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury.
The show begins as Norman and Ethel Thayer are opening their summer home on Golden Pond in Maine. It is their 48th summer together, and also the 48th summer Ethel has brought Norman to the cottage that had been her family’s since she was small. Norman (played by Robert Demic of Bristol) is 79, a retired English professor, and showing his age. Ethel (Robin Hewitt of Bristol) is a spry 69 and enthusiastically preparing for her husband’s 80th birthday party by inviting their daughter Chelsea (Tanya Kurtz Lehman of Middlebury) to come from California visit for the first time in eight years. Charlie the mailman (Carl Engvall of Bristol) brings the news, along with the torch he’s been carrying for Chelsea since they were children together.
Chelsea arrives on Norman’s birthday with her new boyfriend, Bill Ray (Craig Bailey of Shelburne), and his son, Billy (Benjamin Fox of Charlotte). Chelsea and Bill are going on to Europe and ask to leave Billy with Norman and Ethel for the month. The old man and the boy become great pals, and life changes for the better for everybody in this heartwarming tale of long-term love and hope.
“I’m excited to bring this story of multi-generational love and reconciliation to the stage for several reasons,” explained director Jeffrey Fox, “including the opportunity to work with some of my favorite actors and examine themes of continuity and change, as well as connections and resolutions at several points along life’s journey. It’s also a tribute to my late wife. ‘On Golden Pond’ is special, partly because it brings echoes of dreams that didn’t come true. This one is for Sue, who sang ‘Grow Old with Me’ to me at our wedding.”
The 1982 film was adapted by the playwright and won three Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Actress in Leading Roles, and was nominated for seven more. The last time it was revived on Broadway, James Earl Jones played Norman and Leslie Uggams was Ethel in an all African-American cast.
Poor Lost Circus Performers is a new company at the Town Hall Theater; “On Golden Pond” is their second production, after “Anne of Green Gables,” which played to full houses in the spring of 2018.
This show runs Thursday through Sunday, March 21-24. Show times are 7:30 p.m. for the Thursday to Saturday evening shows, and 2 p.m. for Saturday and Sunday matinees. Tickets are $20 ($17 for students with ID) plus fees for all performances, and can be purchased at the box office, by calling (802) 382-9222, or online at townhalltheater.org.

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