BANGOR, Maine — Penobscot Theatre begins its 35th anniversary season with a timeless classic straight from the beautiful shores of Maine, “On Golden Pond.” The play will run through Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Bangor Opera House.
“What better way to start our 35th anniversary season than with this Maine classic?” said PTC producing artistic director Scott Levy. “I’m sure that many people in our audience know this story from the Academy-Award winning film version, but the original play is so much better and funnier. It truly is the perfect way to enjoy the waning days of summer.”
“On Golden Pond” is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning for their 48th year to their summer home on Maine’s Golden Pond. Their divorced, middle-age daughter, Chelsea, visits with her new dentist fiancé and his teenage son, Billy. Chelsea and the dentist whisk away to Europe, leaving the boy behind for the summer. Billy quickly becomes Ethel and Norman’s “grandchild.” In the end, Norman and Ethel are brought closer together. Time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good, and perhaps another summer on Golden Pond awaits.
Directing “On Golden Pond” is PTC resident director Nathan Halvorson, who has directed “Guys and Dolls,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.”
Making their Penobscot Theatre debuts are veteran actors Barry Dunleavey and Barbara Haas. A native New Englander, Dunleavy stars as the tart-tongued retired professor, Norman Thayer Jr. For more than 40 years Dunleavey has had a long and distinguished career with TV appearances on “As The World Turns,” “The Doctors” and “The Edge of Night.”
Haas plays Ethel, Norman’s wife and foil. She has appeared as Aunt Juliana in repertory and off-Broadway productions of “Hedda Gabler” and on the highly successful television series “The Sopranos” as Lorraine Bracco’s mother.
Returning to the PTC stage are local favorites Jeri Misler as Chelsea and Arthur Morison as Charlie the mailman. Misler starred last season in “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” and “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” Morison played Boolie in “Driving Miss Daisy” and appeared as the unforgettable German tourist in “The Night of the Iguana” last season.
Also appearing in their first PTC production are local actors Mike Elliott as Bill and Kurt Massey as son Billy. Elliott is well-known as half of the “Mike & Mike” morning radio team. Thirteen-year-old Massey is making his professional theater debut in this production.
Daniel Bilodeau joins Penobscot Theatre for the first time as scenic designer. He designed “Proof” for Portland Stage and is a new faculty member at the University of Maine School of Performing Arts.
Lex Liang returns for his fourth season designing costumes, while Lynne Chase provides lighting design.
“On Golden Pond” performances are 7 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 11 and 18; 8 p.m. Fridays, Sept. 12 and 19; 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20; 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, and Saturday, Sept. 20. Tickets range from $10 to $40. Call 942-3333 or visit www.penobscottheatre.org.