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'On Golden Pond' comes to The Public Theatre

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LEWISTON/AUBURN The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn's Professional Theatre, ends its 2011-12 season with the heartwarming and poignant comedy 'On Golden Pond,' running May 4 through 13. Featuring real life couple Ellen Crawford and Mike Genovese (from NBC's E.R.), tickets for this popular, much-loved play are already in high demand, and an additional 2 p.m. matinee performance has been added on Saturday, May 12.

The loons are back on Golden Pond, and so are Norman and Ethel Thayer, a retired professor and his feisty wife. Returning to their annual lakeside cottage in Maine, their summer is unexpectedly transformed by a visit from their middle-aged daughter, her fianc and his 13-year-old son.

The play explores the triumphs and difficulties faced by a couple in the twilight years of a long marriage as well as the complicated relationship between a daughter and her hard-to-please father. Along the way, a comical and touching bond develops between the young boy and the old man. Many people may be familiar with the much-loved film based on the play starring Henry Fonda and Kathryn Hepburn. According to Director Christopher Schario, "The play is somewhat similar to the film, with a touch more humor, and it's easy to understand why Maine audiences have fallen in love with the story." In fact, author Ernest Thompson spent his summers along the shores of Great Pond, located in Belgrade, Maine, where the play is based.

Portraying Norman, the patriarchal curmudgeon, will be Mike Genovese. Mike's extensive television career includes guest starring roles on 'E.R,' 'Judging Amy,' 'Star Trek: Next Generation' and 'N.Y.P.D. Blue,' among others. He was last seen onstage at The Public Theatre in 'Orphans,' and has appeared regularly at various theatres throughout the country. Appearing with him as his onstage wife Ethel will be his offstage wife Ellen Crawford. Ellen was last seen at The Public Theatre in 'The Belle of Amherst' and is most familiar to TV audiences for her role as nurse Lydia Wright on 'E.R.' Noted for her film and television work, Ellen is also a familiar face to Los Angeles theatre audiences and enjoys a successful stage career. Playing the role of their daughter Chelsea, her fianc Bill and Charlie the local mailman will be New York actors Beth Hylton, Jefferson Slinkard and Michael Hardart. The role of young Billy, the 13-year-old foil to Norman, will be played by local actor Scott Venable. Scott has participated in The Public Theatre's summer training program for young actors for the past two seasons, and is looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside professional actors.

During the run of the show The Public Theatre's Silent Auction will be held in the lobby of the theatre. This annual fund-raising event is a fun way to shop for bargains while supporting the theatre. Early Bird Subscriptions (offering free bonus tickets!) for the upcoming 2012-13 season will also be on sale during the run of this show. 'On Golden Pond' is the perfect show to celebrate the coming of Spring, as well as a great gift to give to Mom on Mother's Day.

'On Golden Pond' will be performed at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn's Professional Theatre, May 4 at 7:30 p.m., May 5 at 8 p.m., May 6 at 2 p.m., May 10 at 7:30 p.m., May 11 at 7:30 p.m., May 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and May 13 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18, youth tickets (18 and under) are $5, and the group rate (10+) is $15. For tickets call The Public Theatre Box Office at 782-3200. For more information, visit www.thepublictheatre.org.

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