On Golden Pond,' Beloved, Bittersweet Story of a Family's Memorable Maine Summer, On Stage at Heritage

July 14, 2009 — One of the most memorable curmudgeons in film and theater history will make his way to the Culbreth Theatre when the Heritage Theatre Festival season continues with "On Golden Pond," which opens Thursday.

The bittersweet and beloved tale of Norman and Ethel Thayer's retreat to their family cabin in the woods of Maine won Henry Fonda an Academy Award and has won generations of fans with its touching and often humorous look at the twilight years and the struggles and triumphs of family life.

"On Golden Pond" will be presented from July 16 to 18 at 7:30 p.m. and on Aug. 1, 3 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. wth a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Aug 1 . There will be a special post-show "Talk Back" with cast members on Aug. 3.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $19 for seniors (60 and older) and U.Va. faculty and staff, and $14 for students. Season and single show tickets are now available at the Heritage Box Office, online at www.uvahtf.org or by calling 434-924-3376.

Soon after the Thayers go through their annual routine of opening their rustic retreat for another in a fast-fading series of summer sojourns, the calm broken by daughter Chelsea, who arrives with her boyfriend and his teenage son in tow. Her complicated relationship with Norman (played by longtime Heritage favorite Martin Beekman) quickly brings the tension to a boil as Ethel tries in vain to once again play the role of peacemaker and help the two find some understanding across the generations.

When Chelsea and her beau decide to leave his young son behind while they enjoy a brief getaway on their own, Norman and the boy are forced into a relationship that begins awkwardly and ends beautifully – with surprisingly healing results for all.

The 2009 Heritage Theatre Festival season continues at the Helms Theatre on July 21 with the Texas laughs of "Red, White & Tuna" and the plant-eats-man mania of "Little Shop of Horrors," opening July 23 at the Culbreth Theatre.