Getting older…together in “Fern Hill”

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Getting older...together in "Fern Hill"
Mark Linn-Baker and Jill Eikenberry
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

Picture this: a weekend in the country with 6 great friends: three couples, with husbands all turning a landmark age. It’s a great reason to gather to celebrate life, friendship, and to ponder getting older together.

The question these friends raise (“what if we all live together and take care of each other?”)  is at the heart of Fern Hill, written by television star Michael Tucker (“LA Law.”) This is a topic that I know has been discussed among my friends, and has been on the minds of many people (especially those without children) as time marches on.

It surely is fodder for good dinner conversation and that is exactly where this verbal exchange occurs during the play. But, a stunning revelation concerning the host couple takes place during the course of the weekend, threatening to tear them apart, and destroy the harmony of the six friends. It’s decided that the only way through this personal crisis is for the six friends to work through the problem as a whole.

Along the way, important observations about the state of marriage are uncovered. It’s deftly observed that unconscious power negotiations take place between a couple, often with authority handed to the husband, while the wife secretly resents that unspoken pact.

Michael Tucker has written some excellent lines, and provided insight into the depth of relationships. But I was really stuck on the larger issue of communal living in later years, and would like to see that concept more deeply explored.

The excellent cast featuring Mark Blum, Jill Eikenberry, Jodi Long, Ellen Parker with special kudos to John Glover and Mark-Linn Baker, are a joy to watch.  Fern Hill is directed by Nadia Tass.

The run at 59E59 has been extended to Oct. 27.

To hear my interview with Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, listen to my “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” radio show podcast at: Bagels and Broadway

For more theatre and food news, listen every Saturday morning 9-10 AM on WNYM-AM.


  • Valerie Smaldone

    Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has just directed and produced her first film featuring Gloria Gaynor and is producing a docu-series starring Erik Estrada. Visit her website at

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