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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.
Starring Tony Award winner James Naughton as Norman Thayer and Tony Award nominee Mia Dillon as Ethel Thayer.
Ticket prices: $55 adult; $50 senior; $25 student
Mia Dillon* (Ethel Thayer) is delighted to be reunited with James Naughton who directed her in the Broadway and Westport Playhouse productions of Our Town with Paul Newman. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Crimes Of The Heart. Other Broadway credits include Da, The Corn is Green, Hay Fever, The Miser, Agnes of God, Equus, and Once a Catholic. At Hartford Stage she starred in the premiere of Seder (CT Critics Circle Nomination for best Actress), as well as Cloud Nine (Ct Critics Circle Award featured Actress) and A Song at Twilight (CT Critics Circle Nom featured Actress). At Westport Country Playhouse she was most recently seen in 4,000 Miles, as well as Lettice and Lovage, Our Town, Angel Street, Return Engagements, Speed the Plow, and Once a Catholic. She has appeared in regional theaters around the country, from The Old Globe in San Diego to Center Stage in Baltimore. Seven summers have been spent at the Berkshire Theatre in Stockbridge and six at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Other awards include a Drama Desk Nomination, the Clarence Derwent Award, Barrymore Award nomination, and a Dramalogue Award. Film and TV appearances include all 3 Law & Orders, Brain Dead, The Jury, Mary and Rhoda, Gods and Generals, The Money Pit, Isn’t It Delicious, Ordinary World, All Good Things, and Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and the recently released Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.
James Naughton* (Norman Thayer)James Naughton – From Broadway and regional theater to television and films, James Naughton has won critical acclaim in dramas, comedies and musicals. He is the winner of two Tony Awards as Best Actor in a Musical, for his portrayal of media-savvy lawyer Billy Flynn in the Broadway hit Chicago (1997) and for his role as a film-noir era detective in City of Angels (1990), which also earned him a Drama Desk Award. He won the 1999 MAC Award as best male vocalist for his one-man concert show, Street of Dreams, presented by Mike Nichols, and recorded his CD, “It’s About Time,” for DRG records. In 2014, he recorded his Live From Lincoln Center Special for PBS, James Naughton Sings Randy Newman.
A graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, Naughton made his New York debut in Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, with Robert Ryan and Geraldine Fitzgerald, winning immediate recognition with Theatre World, New York Drama Critics and Vernon Rice Awards. On Broadway, he also starred as Willy Brandt in Democracy, and in Whose Life Is It Anyway, and I Love My Wife. He directed two critically acclaimed Broadway productions: Arthur Miller’s The Price which was nominated for a Tony, and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town starring Paul Newman, which he also shot for Showtime. He has directed extensively in the Berkshires and in Westport, and played off Broadway and in regional theatres for decades.
Naughton’s film credits include Equity, currently at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Factory Girl, playing Sienna Miller’s father, Childless, opposite Barbara Hershey, The Devil Wears Prada, First Wives Club, The Glass Menagerie, with Joanne Woodward, The Good Mother, The Paper Chase, and Cat’s Eye.
On TV, he starred in Planet of the Apes, Who’s The Boss?, Brooklyn Bridge, Making the Grade, Ally McBeal, The Cosby Mysteries, Damages, Gossip Girl, Hostages, The Black List, The Affair, and most recently, Just Like That, with Sara Jessica Parker and a few voice-overs.
Will Clark* (Charlie) is thrilled to be returning to Ivoryton Playhouse, having previously appeared in I Hate Musicals: The Musical, The Fantasticks, and Cabaret. Originally hailing from South Eastern Connecticut, Will is a New York based film and theater actor. Will is a Resident Artist with The CRY HAVOC Company, a new play development company based in Manhattan. With CRY HAVOC, Will has taken part in the development of over 150 new plays, musicals, and screen plays, and has has performed in dozens of CRY HAVOC’s readings and productions, including his performance in Sabbatical for the Lincoln Center Originals series. Other recent stage credits include Three Sisters (Gowanus Arts), realer than that (CRY HAVOC), Wish You Were Here, My Love (Planet Connections Festival), Ectospasms (New York Fringe), The Most Interesting Man in Dave’s Mind (Samuel French OOB Festival), AVoid2Remembr (Interrobang Festival), and a residency with the FSGA Commedia Company.
Sabatino Cruz(Billy Ray Jr.) is excited to be working with Ivoryton Playhouse for the first time! Most recently, he appeared as Arpad in Curtain Call’s production of She Loves Me. He also appeared as Pinocchio/Stepsister in Douglas Carter Beane’s off-Broadway musical Fairycakes, and Gordon Bierman in the original musical Last Days of Summer directed by Jeff Calhoun. Other credits include Caroline or Change; Shrek; Elf; Pippin; Scrooge; Beauty and the Beast; and Peter Pan, In addition to musical theatre, Sabatino has worked as a voiceover artist for Nickelodeon and recently as the Little Prince in an upcoming animated series to be released in 2023. Special thanks to my team at Take 3 Talent, Terrific Talent, Amelia DeMayo, Jordan DiNatale and Vera Huff. To the awesome cast and crew of On Golden Pond – Break legs! Social: @sabatinocruz
Stacie Morgain Lewis* (Chelsea) is an actress, singer, songwriter, teacher and mom. She played Glinda in the Chicago production of Wicked. Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George (Frieda /Betty), Wicked (standby Glinda), Urinetown (u/s Hope Cladwell), Titanic. Off-B’way: Don’t Quit Your Night Job. National Tours: Titanic, South Pacific (u/s Nellie). Regional: LMNOP at the Goodspeed, The 39 Steps, No Way To Treat a Lady, My Fair Lady. Film/TV: Elephant Shoes, Blacklist. BFA Ithaca College. She co-wrote the children’s album Harmonize with Ben Cohn (the conductor/musical director of Dear Evan Hansen) and then went on to create Harmonize Kidz, an arts enrichment program that uses her music to teach social-emotional learning to elementary students. The curriculum has been implemented in school systems throughout the tri-state area. Stacie has performed countless concerts in and out of schools, and in partnerships with organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise (supported by Senator Chris Murphy), Melissa and Doug, Bank Street School for Children and the Broadway Inspirational Voices. www.harmonizekidz.com Stacie has just co-written a two-women, guitar-playing musical about motherhood with Julie Foldesi. Social: @StacieMorgainLewis and @2motherpluckers
Josh Powell* (Bill Ray) is thrilled to return to Ivoryton having previously appeared in My Way, Burt & Me, Love Quest, and A Christmas Carol. He returns fresh from starring in Sunday in the Park with George (George) at Brooklyn’s Mark O’Donnell Theater. Prior to that, he featured in the World Premiere of The Virtuous Life of Joseph Andrews with Penguin Rep where he also starred in Syncopation and Art. Josh has performed throughout the country in his signature roles: Billy Bigelow (Carousel), Harold Hill (The Music Man), Juan Peron (Evita), and the Phantom of the Opera. He’s headlined with numerous opera companies including El Paso Opera, Utah Festival Opera, and Light Opera Oklahoma. Josh’s New York theater work includes Assassins (Booth), The Cradle Will Rock (Larry Foreman), and Twelfth Night (Orsino). He’s also appeared with Merry-Go-Round (9 to 5), Pittsburgh Public (The Fantasticks), and Goodspeed (City of Angels). Josh is the recipient a San Francisco Critics Circle Award and a Dramalogue Award. His television work includes D.O.A. and Blue Bloods as well the new Transformers web series, Combaticons.
Director: Brian Feehan
Stage Manager: James Joseph Clark*
Scenic and Lighting Designer: Marcus Abbott
Sound Designer: Alan Piotrowicz
Costume Designer: Kat Duffner
* 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.
Learn more at www.ErnestThompson.us.
Check back here for press releases, photos and video clips!
Don’t Be Such An Old Poop! Come and See
On Golden Pond
By Ernest Thompson
on stage at Ivoryton Playhouse May 18-June 11, 2023
Ivoryton – It is the year of the coronation of King Charles III, but here in Ivoryton we have been celebrating with our own Royal Families. The Queens of Georgia McBride have waved their majestic goodbyes and close on their heels come two crowned heads of the Broadway stage – Tony award nominated Mia Dillon* and Tony award winner James Naughton* in ON GOLDEN POND by Ernest Thompson. What a treat and a magnificent honor!
Mia Dillon will be taking on the role of Ethel Thayer, a role made famous by Katharine Hepburn in the Oscar winning movie. Mia, who was nominated for a Tony for her critically acclaimed role in Beth Henley’s CRIMES OF THE HEART, can be caught on the silver screen right now in the beautiful new adaptation of Judy Blume’s novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.
James Naughton is the winner of two Tony Awards as Best Actor in a Musical, for his portrayal of media-savvy lawyer Billy Flynn in the Broadway hit CHICAGO (1997) and for his role as a film-noir era detective in CITY OF ANGELS (1990), which earned him a Drama Desk Award. James has appeared in many movies including The Devil Wears Prada, First Wives Club, and The Glass Menagerie with Joanne Woodward. TV appearances include Planet of the Apes, Who’s The Boss?, Gossip Girl and most recently, Just Like That, with Sara Jessica Parker.
The first Broadway production of ON GOLDEN POND opened at the New Apollo Theatre in February 1979 and starred Tom Aldredge as Norman Thayer and Frances Sternhagen as Ethel Thayer. Ernest Thompson adapted his script into the screenplay play for the movie that opened in 1982 and garnered three Oscars – one for Thompson for the screenplay and best actor Oscars for its stars, Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
The story of ON GOLDEN POND begins with the arrival of an old, long-married couple at the lakeside cottage where they have summered for many years. Before long, three more people turn up at the pond: their daughter, her fiancé and his son. As the story unfolds, old conflicts are unearthed, new relationships are formed but, more than anything, we get a rare glimpse inside a long and enduring marriage – a rare gift.
Brian Feehan directs this tender and heart warming treasure that also features Stacie Morgain Lewis* as Chelsea, Josh Powell* as Bill Ray, Will Clark* as Charlie and Sabatino Cruz as Billy Ray Jr.
Set and lighting is designed by Marcus Abbott, costumes by Kat Duffner, and sound design by Alan Piotrowicz.
Ernest Thompson, the writer of ON GOLDEN POND, will be joining us at the performance on Sunday, May 21st for a talk-back. He will also be appearing at The Kate on Monday, May 22 at 7:00pm for a Museum Talk about his experiences making the film with Hepburn and Fonda. The Kate will feature ON GOLDEN POND costumes from the movie displayed from May throughout the summer, a painting by Henry Fonda created as a gift for Katharine Hepburn and props loaned by Ernest Thompson.
And so our Royal season continues…Let the trumpets sound and the flags wave – it is a Royal Spring in Ivoryton!
ON GOLDEN POND runs from May 18 through June11, 2023.. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm; evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm.
Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $25 for students. Tickets are available online at ivorytonplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 860.767.7318. (For information on group rates, please call the box office.) For more information on the entire 2023 season, visit ivorytonplayhouse.org. The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
$5 discount on tickets for ON GOLDEN POND (play) at Ivoryton Playhouse for:
**The Kate Members
**Kate’s Classic members and ticket holders of OGP film screening
Ernest Thompson will attend Ivoryton Playhouse 2pm matinee of ON GOLDEN POND on Sunday, May 21st. He will do a talk back after the show.
Ernest Thompson appearance and book signing at The Kate on Monday, May 22, 2023.
The Kate Museum promotion of ON GOLDEN POND costumes from Kent State displayed from May through summer. There will be costumes from OGP film, a painting Henry Fonda created as a gift to Katharine Hepburn, props and lots more.