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UW Snowy Range Summer Theatre Opens with Broadway Hit ‘On Golden Pond’

June 2, 2015
head portraits of a woman and a man together
Pete and Lynne Simpson, well-known Wyoming actors from Cody, star as Norman and Ethel Thayer in “On Golden Pond.” The award-winning play runs June 9-13 at 7:30 p.m. on the UW Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming Snowy Range Summer Theatre kicks off its 62nd season with an award-winning play about a spirited and lovable couple in their twilight years.

Presented by the UW Department of Theatre and Dance, Ernest Thompson’s “On Golden Pond” runs June 9-13 at 7:30 p.m. on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage. Tickets cost $10 for the public and $7 for students, senior citizens and children over age 5. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more people. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666, go online at, or visit the Performing Arts box office or the Wyoming Union information desk.

The summer theater season opener features popular Wyoming actors Pete and Lynne Simpson, from Cody, as Norman and Ethel Thayer. Directed by UW Department of Theatre and Dance Professor Lee Hodgson, “On Golden Pond” is a heartwarming story about revisiting the past and forging new bonds across generations. Lovable curmudgeon Norman Thayer is as tart-tongued as ever. His spirited wife, Ethel, delights in all the small things that have enriched their lives. 

They return to their summer home on the lake for the 48th year and are soon visited by their adult daughter, her uptight fiancé and his rebellious teenage son, which sparks a renewed zest for life in the couple. In the twilight years of their marriage, Norman and Ethel rediscover the joy and romance of everyday living.

The Simpsons first appeared together on stage 55 years ago in the Cody Community Theatre production of “George Washington Slept Here.” While living in Jackson during the early 1970s, they formed their own theater company, Spontaneous Theater Productions, so that they would be able to produce projects as the opportunity arose given their other busy professional lives.

Pete Simpson, former UW vice president for institutional advancement and Distinguished Simpson Professor of Political Science, has performed in more than 20 amateur and professional theater roles, including Cyrano in “Cyrano de Bergerac,” Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” and Hamlet’s ghost in the UW production of “Hamlet.” An acting endowment is in his name in UW’s Department of Theatre and Dance. 

Lynne Simpson has acted in numerous productions in venues including UW and the University of Oregon, winning best actor awards in both, as well as having experience in the American Theatre Wing in New York City and the Carnival Theater professional summer stock company in Eugene, Ore. Additionally, she has directed more than 25 productions in cities throughout Wyoming. She was awarded a fellowship at the National Endowment for the Arts for a residency in Washington, D.C., and served as a member of the American Community Theatre national board of directors. 

The Snowy Range Summer Theatre production of “On Golden Pond” also features UW Theatre and Dance faculty members Landee Lockhart and Kevin Inouye as the Thayers’ daughter and her fiancé; UW Department of Music Professor Larry Hensel as their old friend and postman; and Milo Albers as their grandson.

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