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Laurel Little Theatre to Present ON GOLDEN POND

LLT alumni Frankie Bennett, from Bay Springs, is directing. 

Laurel Little Theatre to Present ON GOLDEN POND

It was 48 years ago that a young Steven Nowicki met Catherine Cappiello.

He was from NYC, a recent graduate of Adelphi College just beginning Yale University School of Drama, set on a career in the theatre.

She had the same plan. She'd grown up in Kensington, Maryland and had graduated from the Boston Conservatory with her eye on performing.

They met in 1973, working on a production of the musical "THE MOST HAPPY FELLA" at the Weathervane Theatre in Whitefield, NH, and they kept crossing paths doing regional theatre productions in the Northeast area. Eventually, marriage was in the cards in the late 1970s, and then along came their two children, Tristan and Samantha.

The kids inherited their parent's performing DNA - both of them also enjoy singing, dancing and acting as well.

Steven later found himself interested in medicine and completed a medical degree in 1983 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. They were then off with the US Navy to Pensacola, Annapolis and Jacksonville, FL, along with his residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

Eventually, the family came to our own hometown where he's been an orthopaedic surgeon at South Central since 1998.

They've both appeared on LLT's Arabian stage many times. Steven did a couple of the popular two-man "GREATER TUNA" comedies with Wess Hughes. Catherine is well remembered for repeated productions of "Always...Patsy Cline" with Missy Sanderson. And the two them starred together on the LLT stage in "LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS."

This month, Laurel audiences get a real treat when Steven and Catherine take on the leading roles of Norman and Ethel Thayer in the classic play "ON GOLDEN POND." Those are the roles that won Best Actor Oscar awards for Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn in the hit 1981 movie version.

That movie also featured Fonda's real life daughter, Jane Fonda, playing his daughter - Chelsea Thayer. True to that idea of casting, LLT's show director for this production, Frankie Bennett, has cast the Nowickis' daughter, Samantha, in the role of Chelsea.

Samantha grew up in Laurel, graduating from Presbyterian Christian High School in Hattiesburg, and then on to degrees in marine science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL and veterinary technician certification from Colorado Mountain College. She did several LLT productions growing up, including the lead role in our drama "MAN-IN-THE-MOON-MARIGOLDS," where she also acted opposite her mom.

After living in a few other states for over a decade, Samantha happened to be returning to Laurel this spring and ended up in the Pine Belt just in time for the director's auditions back in February.

Not to be left out, son Tristan, who lives in Maryland and recently earned his Masters Degree in Russian History (in Russia, no less!), was planning a visit to the South this month just so he could be in the audience cheering them on.

But after one of the actors in the cast was rushed to the ER a few days ago, Tristan was wrangled in take over the role of the Golden Pond postman, Charlie Martin.

So now, LLT has all four of the Nowickis appearing on the stage together for the very first time since a production fo "ANNIE GET YOUR GUN" back in 1995.

Also appearing in the production as Chelsea Thayer's fiancé, Bill, is Jay Baggett from Seminary. He's been in two dozen LLT musicals since the 1980s, most recently as 'The Old Man' in "A CHRISTMAS STORY" two years ago.

Jackson Corley plays the memorable role of Billy Wayne, the angst ridden teen that gets left with the Thayers for a whole month at their Golden Pond summer house in Maine.

The main story of the show is the relationship between the different generations of the two octogenarians with the young energetic teen.

Corley is new to our area - his family moved here just a couple years ago after growing up in Alabama and Kansas. He's a junior at Richton High School and recently appeared in his two LLT productions. This is his first leading role.

Carole Goza is cast as the telephone operator. Her very first LLT shows were four decades ago, but more recently she had lead roles in "HELLO DOLLY," "9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL" and "A CHRISTMAS STORY." After graduating Watkins High and then Catawba College in North Carolina, Carole performed for years on cruise ships and theme parks.

LLT alumni Frankie Bennett, from Bay Springs, is directing. She's acted or directed in 20 LLT productions, most recently heading up the LLT season opener of "DOUBLEWIDE, TEXAS."

The LLT show runs this Friday and Saturdays April 23-24 at 7:30pm and Sunday matinee on April 25 is at 2:00pm.

LLT's reservation line answers 24 hours a day this week at 601.428.0140

LLT's Covid safety protocol for this season includes required masks, distancing, temperature checks and hydrostatic cleaning of the theatre between performances.

Seating is cut to less than half of normal capacity for safe spacing, with empty seats all sides of each couple/family.

Because of the limited seating, the theatre definitely expects this show will totally sell out all performances early, so make those reservations as soon as the reservation line begins on April 7th.

For further info, check LaurelLittleTheatre.com or write to LLTLaurelMS@aol.com


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