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On Golden Pond - ePublication

Full Length, Drama
3 men, 2 women, 1 boy
Total Cast: 6, Flexible Set
ISBN-13: 978-0-8222-4216-1


MIN. PERFORMANCE FEE: $130 per performance. SPECIAL NOTE: Theatres with a performance license for ON GOLDEN POND must use the second revised edition for production.
THE STORY: This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the forty-eighth year. He is a retired professor, nearing eighty, with heart palpitations and a failing memory—but still as tart-tongued, observant, and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness—and slang—in return. In the end, as the summer wanes, so does their brief idyll, and in the final, deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together by the incidence of a mild heart attack. Time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good and, perhaps, another summer on Golden Pond still awaits.

Recorded songs written by Ernest Thompson and Joe Deleault with the legendary singer-songwriter Carly Simon and world-renowned fiddler Natalie MacMaster are available for use in productions of ON GOLDEN POND. For all music licensing inquiries, contact Verdict Music at (508) 444-2242 or by email,
Presented to great critical and popular acclaim first off then on Broadway, this touching, funny and warmly perceptive study of a spirited and lovable elderly couple facing their twilight years introduced a significant playwright to our theatre.

“ON GOLDEN POND is a work of rare simplicity and beauty, and in Thompson our theatre has found a fresh new voice.” —New York Daily News.

“…a rare and memorable theatrical experience…” —Variety.

“What courage it must have taken for Mr. Thompson in the 1970s to write a play with so much affection in it!” —The New Yorker.