ON GOLDEN POND is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who leave for Europe and leave his teenage son behind for a summer of lessons learned and bonds strengthened. A heartwarming and hilarious show about generations of a family learning to communicate and to care.
Ticket prices: $55 adult; $50 senior; $25 student
Director: Brian Feehan
Stage Manager: James Joseph Clark*
Lighting Designer: Marcus Abbott
* member of Actors Equity
Ernest Thompson, has won an Oscar, two Golden Globes, a Writers Guild Award and a Broadway Drama Guild Award for Best Play. His work has been nominated for a Tony, an Emmy and a British Academy Award. His more than 35 plays have been seen in theatres around the world. The most enduring, On Golden Pond, has been translated into 30 languages, Arabic the newest, and played in more than 40 countries on six continents including three runs on Broadway, the most recent starring James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams.
Among other plays are The West Side Waltz (starring Katharine Hepburn and Dorothy Loudon), A Sense of Humor (Jack Lemmon and Estelle Parsons), Ax of Love, Amazons in August, Murdering Mother, White People Christmas, The Elixir, and Human Beings. His anthology of 25 short plays will contain the collections Political Suicide, The Penis Responds, Answers, and Valentines for Two, as well as The One About the Guy in the Bar, The Kindness of Strangers, and American Terrorist.
His films include On Golden Pond (Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda), Sweet Hearts Dance (Susan Sarandon and Jeff Daniels), The Lies Boys Tell (Kirk Douglas), 1969 (Robert Downey Jr. and Bruce Dern), The West Side Waltz (Shirley MacLaine and Liza Minnelli), Out of Time, and the live On Golden Pond (Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer), the last four of which Ernest also directed, as he has his latest films, Time and Charges and Heavenly Angle. Both were produced by his company, Whitebridge Farm Productions, and offered as On Location Training to anyone of any background, experience or age interested in any aspect of filmmaking.
In the theatre, Ernest has directed the world premieres of The Elixir, The Penis Responds, Ax of Love, Another Summer (the On Golden Pond musical), and, in partnership with Rock the Vote, his darkly funny collection Political Suicide, which opened on Primary Night in New Hampshire, followed by productions across the country.
Ernest began his acting career touring with Cyril Richard and Maureen O’Sullivan in The Pleasure of his Company. He has appeared on Broadway in Summer Brave (opposite Alexis Smith) and Off-Off in The Penis Responds (with Richard Gilliland), The Valentine Fairy and Zipless (both with Julie Haggerty). At the Ahmanson Theatre in LA, Ernest performed with Jean Stapleton and Charlotte Rae in The Time of the Cuckoo and has starred in other plays of his own, including The Elixir, On Golden Pond (at Pittman’s Freight Room, as Charlie the Mailman) and Political Suicide. In the ‘70s, Ernest had a long run on the soap opera Somerset and starred in two television series (Sierra and Westside Medical) and in two
TV films across from Susan Sarandon (The Rimers of Eldritch and The Last of the Belles). He acted in the feature films Star 80 (directed by Bob Fosse) and Next Stop Wonderland and in two TV films Ernest wrote, The Lies Boys Tell and The West Side Waltz, and starred in his independent films Time and Charges and Heavenly Angle.
From his home base, a 200-year-old farm in rural New Hampshire, Ernest has worked with hundreds of writers, hosting his internationally-renowned Write On Golden Pond workshops and through Rescind Recidivism, the prison writing program he established with his writer wife Kerrin Thompson, giving inmates a chance to feel creative as well as human, capable and worthy. Ernest also has had the privilege of providing one-on-one script and manuscript analysis and private coaching to actors and public speakers.
A prolific songwriter, Ernest has worked with legendary composers and singers, producing songs he’s used in his films and plays and posted on YouTube and elsewhere. With longtime collaborator Joe Deleault, Ernest created “The Father Daughter Dance,” written with and performed by Carly Simon, and the anthemic “On Golden Pond,” composed with and featuring the award-winning Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster. Ernest has directed videos for his songs “Brönte Brook,” written with and performed by the remarkably talented Ray Porcell, and “You Are Loved,” with the extraordinary Justin Jaymes. Ernest’s music is available on iTunes and at Amazon and other online outlets.
A music video of Ernest’s song “Live Free or Die,” written with local legend Art Harriman and sung by the beloved star John Davidson, features majestic scenery from the Seacoast to the mountains to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and opens every one of John’s shows at his wildly successful Club Sandwich.
Post-pandemic 2022 has seen scores of productions of On Golden Pond in the US and abroad and a resounding reception for Ernest’s revised script of The West Side Waltz at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, California.
In late 2021, Ernest was directing himself in his play Ask/Answer when Omicron came calling. He looks forward to returning to it and to casting the Broadway production of his newest play Some Parts Missing.
In 2019, Ernest directed and starred as Norman Thayer, Jr. in his deconstructed production of On Golden Pond at the charming Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith, NH, close to where his iconic movie was shot.
He’ll soon direct his long-awaited film sequel, Home On Golden Pond, and his timely, provocative and hilarious indy, Parallel America, in which he’ll costar with New Hampshire’s Emmy-winning Gordon Clapp.
His debut novel The Book of Maps (Global Collective Publishers) is now available everywhere you buy books. In late 2023, his novel Out Clause will be released by Global Collective Publishers.
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Looking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse was voted best place to see live theatre in 2022 by readers of Shore Publishing newspapers. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!
Did You Know
Sotheby’s two-day auction of property from the estate of Katharine Hepburn on June 10-11, 2004 brought a stunning $5,856,100, with every one of the 695 lots offered sold. Lot #587 was a 13 ft. red, green and white painted canoe reading Gertrude on one side. Gertrude featured in the1981 film "On Golden Pond" and was used by Katharine Hepburn and her family in the Long Island Sound at her Connecticut home in Fenwick, Old Saybrook. Weathered, faded and soiled from use, the canoe is rumored to be currently owned by Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton.
In 1982, Miss Hepburn won her record fourth and final Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Ethel Thayer. She co-starred with Henry Fonda, who also won an Academy Award for Best Actor posthumously.