Mill Mountain Theatre continues its Golden Anniversary Season with one of the classics of American drama, On Golden Pond. The conveys a serious message with a wry sense of humor, will be on the Trinkle Main Stage, Sept. 30 show, which to Oct. 11, 2015.
“Many people remember this story best from the 1981 movie that starred Katherine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, but the original stage version, which opened on Broadway in 1979, established the play as one that challenges audiences to examine their own personal relationships,” said Ginger Poole, MMT’s Producing Artistic Director. “Inevitably, you come away from this play with new insight about how your life is intertwined with others’.”
MMT has cast its production with the two lead actors – Peter Thomasson playing Norman and Lourelene Snedecker - who have worked together in previous productions and will bring a special sense of understanding of the characters they portray, Poole said. “The six-character cast is composed of actors from my past and from our Roanoke auditions who form a powerful ensemble.” Many of the actors and designers for this show have working relationships from previous shows, meaning there will be unique creative energy devoted to this one, she said. Poole is in the show, herself, playing the role of Chelsea, the grown daughter whose long-running conflict with her father is a key part of the story.
On Golden Pond tells a beloved story of an elderly couple enjoying the sunset of their long marriage at their summer house, only to find their vacation disrupted by the arrival of their grown daughter, her new boyfriend and his teenage son. A chaotic turn of events brings to a boil already stressed relationships within the family that evolve into new friendships and trust. But on the way to a happy ending, the roles shift within the family and the two female characters are empowered to take on new responsibility for making the family dynamics work. It is this change that opens the story to speak to families that have suffered dispute, violence and the need for healing.
Mill Mountain Theatre last presented On Golden Pond in 1986 and it drew audiences totaling 4,469 people, among the largest in Roanoke for a drama. “Coupled with special events that draw connection with our community’s growing recognition about the impact of domestic violence, it is clear that now is the time to produce this show here again,” Poole said.
MMT and several community partner organizations are taking advantage of the production of On Golden Pond as a platform to raise awareness and propose action on the growing problem of domestic violence in our community. Three special events will enable audiences to have their say in discussions facilitated by experts in the field of family dispute.
A pre-show reception and discussion will be held on opening night, Sept. 30 at the Harrison Museum of African American Culture inside Center in the Square. Also, two talk-back sessions will follow the matinee performance on Oct. 3 and evening show on Oct. 9 at MMT. They will be led by representatives of partners on this project, including Roanoke City Councilman Sherman Lea, The Salvation Army’s Turning Point shelter for abused women, the Roanoke Police Department’s Family Violence Coordinating Council and Citizens Against Family Violence in Martinsville. Funding for the special events comes from grants by the Kathryn B. McQuade Foundation and Friendship Foundation, enabling partner agencies to bring their clients to performances and discussions. Full details about the collateral events are posted at www.millmountain.org.
Sponsors of Mill Mountain Theatre’s production of On Golden Pond are Bank of Floyd; Business Solutions, Inc.; Claytor/Wirt Associates; Coleman & Massey, PC; Corrugated Container Corp.; FreighhtCar America, Inc.; Home Instead Senior Care; LeClairRyan; Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group; Roanoke Animal Hospital; The Glebe; The Wadsworth Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management; Trane, and Woods Rogers PLC. Grantors supporting the production are Actors’ Equity Association, Center in the Square, National Endowment for the Arts and Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Tickets for performances are available at the Center in the Square box office, by phone at 540-342-5740 and on-line at www.millmountain.org.