‘On Golden Pond’ opens April 6 at Church Hill

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Arts & Entertainment -

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.

PHOTO BY STEVEN G. ATKINSON

Nor­man Thayer (Brian McGu­nigle) and his wife Ethel (Nita Wiec­zoreck) share a ten­der mo­ment in the Church Hill Theatre pro­duc­tion of “On Golden Pond.”

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