‘On Golden Pond’ opens April 6 at Church Hill
CHURCH HILL — “On Golden Pond,” the classic play from Ernest Thompson, brings some warmth to the Church Hill Theatre this spring, opening on April 6, and running for three weekends. Director Bonnie Hill said was drawn to this play because of the perceptive and profound explorations of marriage, mortality, and crossgenerational relationships. The play, written by Ernest Thompson, was a critical success on the New York stage and a blockbuster hit in the film adaptation. Hill has assembled a fine cast of area residents, including both newcomers and experienced actors with credits at CHT and other theaters. Hill herself, a proud graduate of Washington College’s drama department, is a veteran Church Hill Theatre director who most recently directed “Wait Until Dark” at CHT and “A Delicate Balance” and “Sylvia” at the Garfield.
“On Golden Pond” is as simple — and complex — as life itself. Norman Thayer, a sharp-witted and tart-tongued professor, along with his intelligent and nurturing wife Ethel, return to their summer home in Maine for the 48th year. The couple is deftly portrayed by Brian McGunigle and Nita Wieczoreck. McGunigle is an experienced actor on the Shore, and makes his CHT debut with this role; Wiezcoreck is familiar to Church Hill audiences with roles in musicals, comedies, and dramas. Ethel and Norman are soon joined by their daughter, her boyfriend, and his son. These roles are taken on by Heather Oland as Chelsea Thayer Wayne, Jeff Daly as Bill Ray, and John Crook as Billy Ray Jr. Charlie, the local postman and a family friend, is played by Paul Briggs. Oland, Daly, and Briggs have had roles in numerous shows at Church Hill Theatre and bring great skill to their roles. John Crook is a young actor who has participated in multiple years of CHT’s Green Room Gang summer camp, and also in a production of local playwright Earl Lewin’s recent staging of a new play.
Hill has assembled a skilled production team to undertake bringing “Golden Pond” to Church Hill. Set design is by Earl Lewin, with construction undertaken by Carmen Grasso and Tom Rhodes. Lighting and sound are designed and operated by Doug Kaufmann and Patrick Fee repectively. Meg Lenher and Cynthia Fields have done a fine job finding many props, while Nita Wiezcoreck takes on double duty procuring costumes as well as acting. Assisting the director is Kathy Jones, Liz Clarke produces, and Steve Atkinson is the stage manager.
“On Golden Pond” opens at Church Hill Theatre on April 6 and runs through April 22, with weekend performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members, and $10 for students. Special pricing is available for groups of 10 or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, April 6, to those who reserve by phone. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org.
Norman Thayer (Brian McGunigle) and his wife Ethel (Nita Wieczoreck) share a tender moment in the Church Hill Theatre production of “On Golden Pond.”