Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Prince William Little Theatre On Golden Pond

By • Sep 29th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Prince William Little Theatre’s production of On Golden Pond [MP3 3:00 2.7MB].

On Golden Pond
Prince William Little Theatre
Jennie Dean Elementary School, Manassas, VA
$12/$10 Students and Seniors
Through October 12th
Interview with the show’s director, Melissa Jo York-Tilley

This is the ShowBiz Radio Review of On Golden Pond performed by Prince William Little Theatre in Manassas, Virginia. We saw the show on opening night Friday, September 26, 2008.

On Golden Pond is a play in two acts by Ernest Thompson. It focuses on aging couple Ethel and Norman Thayer, who spend each summer at their home on a lake called Golden Pond. This summer, their daughter Chelsea visits with her boyfriend and his son. The play explores the often-turbulent relationship the young woman shared with her father growing up, and the difficulties faced by a couple in the twilight years of a long marriage.

This was a pretty good choice for PWLT to open its 2008-2009 season. On Golden Pond had a small cast, a unit set, with few special lighting or music effects. Over all the production was well done.

George Kitchen played the older man, Norman Thayer, who came to spend his summers on Golden Pond. He seemed to have a death fixation, but he did not slow down. Kitchen was strong and seemed to attack life. His wife Ethel, played by Elissa Hudson, was a good balance to George’s some times overbearing manner. Hudson was much more down to earth. She understood Norman’s shortcomings, and loved him anyway. The two of them had a close bond that at times seemed monotonous.

Lori Muhlstein played their daughter Chelsea. Chelsea had a lot of anger that was buried deep down. Because the play didn’t share much of the characters’ back-stories, when she exploded in the Second act it seemed surprising.

The supporting characters rounded out the cast. Kevin Kirby played the mailman Charlie solidly. His easygoing attitude was a nice contrast to the tension going on in the house. Bill Ray, Chelsea’s boyfriend was played by August Kruesi. He was not sure how to handle her family and was a bit ill at ease. Kreusi was a marked contrast to Kitchen’s George, both physically and socially. His teenage son Billy (Caelyn Ryberg) seemed comfortable on stage and fit right in after some initial sulking.

The set was the cabin on Golden Pond. The d├ęcor gave it a nice New England feel with a strong attention to detail, such as the board game collection under the coffee table. Dave Warner and Melissa Jo York-Tilley designed the set. The costumes, designed by Jes Decker and Melissa Jo York-Tilley, were very appropriate, from Chelsea’s off the shoulder t-shirt to Billy’s leather jacket.

On Golden Pond ran two hours and 15 minutes with one intermission. It is playing through October 12, Friday and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees on the 5th and 12th at 2 pm at the Jennie Dean Elementary School in Manassas Virginia.

Once you’ve seen the show, please feel free to leave a comment here on our website at ShowBiz We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater events in the DC Region.

And now, on with the show.


  • Norman Thayer: George Kitchen
  • Ethel Thayer: Elissa Hudson
  • Charlie Martin: Kevin Kirby
  • Chelsea Thayer: Lori Muhlstein
  • Bill Ray, jr: Caelyn Ryberg
  • Bill Ray: August Kreusi


  • Director: Melissa Jo York-Tilley
  • Producer/Technical director: Dave Warner
  • Stage Manager: Bob Pierce
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Katherine Blondin
  • Production and Set Design: Dave Warner, Melissa Jo York-Tilley
  • Set construction: Dave Warner, Don Petersen, Katherine Blondin, Cana Wade, Bob Shon, August Kreusi
  • Set Dressing: Dave Warner, Katherine Blondin, Melissa Jo York-Tilley, Sara Bickler
  • Costume Design: Jes Decker, Melissa Jo York-Tilley
  • Props: Sara Bickler, Dave Warner, Katherine Blondin, Kevin Kirby, George Kitchen
  • Sound Design: Carl Brandt Long
  • Lighting design: Bob Shon, Dave Warner
  • Running Crew: Bob Pierce, Katherine Blondin, Sara Bickler, Jes Decker, Jim Vincent, Bob Shon, Dave Warner
  • Hair & Make-up design: Melissa Jo York-Tilley, cast
  • Publicity: Jay Tilley, Cana J. Wade, Dave Warner, Katherine Blondin, Don Wilson
  • Program: Dave Warner
  • House Manager: Cana Wade
  • Photography: David Harback, Tim Betts
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4 Responses »

  1. Thanks so much for the nice review Mike and Laura! And it should be noted that On Golden Pond is Melissa Jo York-Tilley’s directing debut! Congrats to her and the entire cast and crew on an excellent production!

  2. […] ShowBizRadio: Review of Prince William Little Theatre’s On Golden Pond […]

  3. Mike and Laura,

    Thanks for the glowing review! Appreciate the feedback, appreciate you guys coming out to see the show; sorry I missed you but was running around like crazy!

    We are very happy with the show–as Jay said, Melissa did a terrific job in her directorial debut, we have a great cast and crew, and have had a blast putting this show up.

    Thanks again for the positive vibes, and your support of local community theater throughout the DC region!

    Dave Warner,
    PWLT President
    Producer, On Golden Pond

  4. Jay and Dave, You’re right we totally forgot to mention that this was Melissa’s debut as director. We interviewed her about the experience, the interview is available.