Tom McCarthy And Carla Belver Reunite in Act II Playhouse's ON GOLDEN POND, 11/17 - 12/13
Act II Playhouse follows its highly-acclaimed production of Boeing-Boeing with Ernest Thompson's beloved play, On Golden Pond, onstage Nov. 17 to Dec. 13. Act II Producing Artistic Director Bud Martin directs this classic American comedy/drama that is every bit as touching, warm, and witty today as when it debuted on Broadway in 1979.
Retired couple Ethel and Norman Thayer spend every summer at their home on Golden Pond in Maine. This year, their adult daughter visits, bringing along her fiancé's 13-year-old son. The turbulent relationship between father and daughter, the friendship that can blossom between young and old, and the difficulties facing a couple in their twilight years, all combine to illuminate family dynamics and trigger both laughter and recognition.
Act II's production of On Golden Pond is the first professional production in Philadelphia since Thompson wrote the play in 1978. Barrymore Award winners Tom McCarthy, Carla Belver and Megan Bellwoar lead the cast of six, which also features Peter Balcke, Tom Byrn, and Carl Granieri. Mr. McCarthy and Ms. Belver have an artistic friendship that spans decades, having acted in scores of plays (often together) that helped launch the now-thriving Philadelphia theatre scene.
"I am thrilled to be working with such an esteemed cast, including two of Philadelphia's best veteran actors," said director Martin. "I saw Carla Belver perform as Blanche in Bob Hedley's production of A Streetcar Named Desire and was blown away by her performance. I am honored to now be directing her as Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond and am grateful to Bob for suggesting that Act II present On Golden Pond with Tom as Norman Thayer."
This is the fourth time McCarthy and Belver have been cast as husband and wife, having previously starred together in Arden Theatre Company's All My Sons (2002) and Death of a Salesman (1996) and Prelude to a Kiss at Philadelphia Theatre Company (1992). McCarthy last appeared at Act II in February 2009 in the one-man show The Philly Fan, which returns to the Act II stage in February 2010 due to popular demand. On Golden Pond is Belver's first appearance at Act II in her four-plus decade career.
"Good writing and good people to work with help me work at my best," says McCarthy, who has been working in Philadelphia theatre for 40 years. "On Golden Pond is a great script, and it makes my job much easier working with someone like Carla. She really listens on stage and performs so effortlessly."
Belver equally enjoys working with McCarthy: "We're so comfortable with each other," she said. "And, I'm excited to be able to kiss him this time! He died on me in our three other shows together as husband and wife."
The production team of On Golden Pond includes set design by Dirk Durossette, costume design by Wade Laboissonniere, lighting by James Leitner (Barrymore Award for Act II's 2004 production of Mary's Wedding), and sound by Mark Valenzuela.
The first Broadway production of On Golden Pond, directed by Craig Anderson, opened on Feb. 28, 1979 at the New Apollo Theatre, where it ran for 126 performances and starred Tom Aldredge and Frances Sternhagen.
After a summer break, the play reopened at the Paramount Hotel, where it ran for an additional 256 performances. Sternhagen won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and On Golden Pond won five Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor (Aldredge) and Actress (Sternhagen) in a Play.
The play was revived on Broadway at the Cort Theatre in 2005 with an African-American cast led by James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams, and won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play and Best Actor in a Play (Jones).
On Golden Pond was famously adapted for the screen by Thompson in 1981 and starred Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. The movie won three Oscars, including Best Actor for Fonda, and Best Actress for Hepburn.
Three preview performances of On Golden Pond will be held Nov. 17-19, with tickets discounted at $20. Opening night is Nov. 20, and the show runs through Dec. 13. Tickets are $25 for all Wednesday-Thursday performances, and $30 for Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, visit www.act2.org or call the Act II Box Office at (215) 654-0200.
The final dress rehearsal of On Golden Pond will be open to the public on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. Suggested donation is $10, and all contributions will be donated to the Montgomery County Senior Adult Activities Center (SAAC). The mission of the SAAC is to involve, enrich and empower adults 50 years or older to live as independently as possible.