Foglia Directs James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll in On Golden Pond at Kennedy Center Sept. 28-Oct. 17 | Playbill

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News Foglia Directs James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll in On Golden Pond at Kennedy Center Sept. 28-Oct. 17 Tony Award winners James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll will star in a new production of Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond for a run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Sept. 28-Oct. 17.
Top: James Earl Jones, Bottom: Diahann Carroll
Top: James Earl Jones, Bottom: Diahann Carroll

The presentation was originally announced as a staged reading, but the run has blossomed into a full staging presented by Jeffrey Finn Productions. Opening night is Oct. 2. Leonard Foglia, who helmed Master Class on Broadway, will direct at Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theatre.

Additional casting will be announced. Jones (Fences, The Great White Hope) is set to play aging professor Norman Thayer, whose mind is slipping at age 79, and Carroll (No Strings, House of Flowers, Sunset Blvd.) will be his loyal wife, Ethel. The play is set in the family's lakeside Maine summer home where the Thayers are visited by their daughter, Chelsea, her boyfriend, Bill, and his troubled teenage son, Billy.

The bond between Norman and Billy prompts Chelsea to face past, buried issues with her father.

Thompson's play had its Broadway premiere in a Hudson Guild Theatre staging in 1979 at the New Apollo Theatre (it moved there from Off-Broadway, where it premiered in fall 1978). Frances Sternhagen was Tony Award nominated for playing Ethel opposite Tom Aldredge. Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn played the roles on film, both snagging Oscars. In a recent live TV staging, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer played the roles.

Jones and Carroll reunite for the first time since they starred in the 1974 film, "Claudine," for which they both earned Golden Globe nominations and Carroll earned an Academy Award nomination. Jones' varied film, TV and stage career includes work as the voice of Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" series. He is widely seen as a spokesman for Verizon. Carroll is currently starring in a new staging of Bubbling Brown Sugar for Atlanta's Theatre of the Stars. She played Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. in Toronto and is remembered for her groundbreaking work in the TV series "Dynasty" and "Julia."

On Golden Pond's designers will be Ray Klausen (set), Jane Greenwood (costumes) and Brian Nason (lighting).

The performance schedule for On Golden Pond will be Tuesdays through Fridays at 8PM and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 PM & 8PM. Tickets are currently only available through subscriptions to The Kennedy Center. For information, call the subscription office at (202) 416-8500.

Beginning Aug. 11, single tickets ($25-$78) will go on sale and will be available by calling (800) 444-1324 or visiting the official website for The Kennedy Center at


The acclaimed 1981 film version of the play also starred Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman as Chelsea and Bill, and was nominated for nine 1982 Academy Awards, winning three — for Henry Fonda, Hepburn and author Ernest Thompson (who adapted the screenplay). For his screenplay, Thompson also won Golden Globe and Writers Guild of America awards.

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