Thursday, June 21, 2018
Stage

Familiar story of 'On Golden Pond' comes to Stage West's Forum

SPRING HILL — By now, the drama On Golden Pond is probably familiar to most people. But the sometimes warm, sometimes prickly relationships in the play can bring as much joy, if not more, as the story itself, so watching it again and again can be satisfying and heartwarming every time.

It opens Feb. 11 and continues weekends through Feb. 21 at Stage West Community Playhouse, and publicist Kathy Cappelle says ticket sales have been so brisk the theater has added a performance.

It's the story of crotchety Norman Thayer and his loving, patient wife, Ethel, a long-married couple spending what could be one of their last — if not their last — summer together at their cottage on the shores of a lake known as Golden Pond.

Norman (Ernie Rowland, Andrew in Oklahoma!) is closing in on 80 years old and having problems remembering things, but Ethel (Betsy Glasson, eight-time HAMI winner, most recently as Jeri Neal in The Dixie Swim Club) is as bright and chipper as always and does her best to keep him from harm.

They settle in as Charlie the postman (Sam Petricone, HAMI as Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!) drops by to reminisce about his affection for the Thayers' daughter, Chelsea (Emily Nettnin, BellaDonna in If a Man Answers at Richey Suncoast Theatre). He's delivering a letter from Chelsea saying she's coming for a visit, along with her latest boyfriend, Bill Ray (Craig Balcomb, Ben Hecht in Moonlight and Magnolias).

Norman and Chelsea's relationship has always been rocky, but he resigns himself to her visit, if for no other reason than to placate Ethel, who has a close and loving relationships with their daughter.

Chelsea arrives with Bill and — surprise! — Bill's 13-year-old son, Billy (Chay Nott, Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird). As always, the air is tense between Chelsea and her dad, but Ethel smooths things over as best she can. The situation isn't helped when Chelsea asks her parents to keep young Billy so she and Bill can jaunt off to Europe.

As might be expected, the irascible Norman is not exactly thrilled at the prospect of having Billy underfoot for two months, and Billy isn't overjoyed about staying with the Thayers. But then things take an unexpected path.

On Golden Pond opened on Broadway in February 1979, but spent most of its run at the small Century Theatre in the basement of the Paramount Hotel. It had a Tony Award-winning revival in 2005, starring James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams. It was adapted into a movie in 1981 starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda, and was nominated for an Academy Award as best picture.

Comments
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Published: 06/20/18
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.He’s got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/15/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.He’s got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/16/18
Why this ballet dancer is skipping college in favor of her own St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

Why this ballet dancer is skipping college in favor of her own St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

GULFPORT — Brianna Melton is as serious a ballet student as they come.By her junior year at St. Petersburg High’s International Baccalaureate program, she had already spent four summers training with ballet companies across the country and had narrow...
Published: 06/14/18
What’s on stage: The Illusionists, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ G. David Howard

What’s on stage: The Illusionists, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ G. David Howard

OPENING: DANCING AT LUGHNASAIrish playwright Brian Friel, who died in 2015 at 86, won’t be traveling anymore. But I’ll bet he packed a tidy suitcase. Dancing at Lughnasa, Jobsite Theater’s season closer, manages to address a lot of issues: race, reli...
Published: 06/13/18
Ruth Eckerd Hall tees up comedy, romance and Kristin Chenoweth for 2018-19 Broadway season

Ruth Eckerd Hall tees up comedy, romance and Kristin Chenoweth for 2018-19 Broadway season

Ruth Eckerd Hall rolls out a new lineup of musicals for its 2018-19 season, a mix of comedy, favorite musicals and romance."For the last 35 years, Broadway has always been a staple at Ruth Eckerd Hall," chief executive officer Zev Buffman said in a p...
Published: 06/12/18
A tense night at the Tony Awards ends in euphoria for Largo doctor Jeffrey Grove

A tense night at the Tony Awards ends in euphoria for Largo doctor Jeffrey Grove

Dr. Jeffrey Grove sat three-quarters of the way back from the stage at Radio City Music Hall, waiting for his moment. The Largo physician made the trip with family to New York for Sunday’s Tony Awards, where he hoped to see his investment in O...
Published: 06/11/18
Neal Boyd, ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, dies at 42

Neal Boyd, ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, dies at 42

SIKESTON, Mo. — Neal Boyd, an opera singer who won America’s Got Talent and dabbled in Missouri politics, has died. Scott County Coroner Scott Amick says Boyd died around 6 p.m. Sunday at his mother’s house in Sikeston. He was 42. Amick says Boyd had...
Published: 06/11/18
Parkland drama teens bring down the house with stirring performance at Tony Awards

Parkland drama teens bring down the house with stirring performance at Tony Awards

Members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama team stole the show at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards Sunday night.The performance brought the crowd— many of whom were wiping tears from their eyes— to its collective feet at the Radio City Music ...
Published: 06/11/18