Waterworks Production of Same Time Next Year (directed by Billy Tucker) is a sentimental dance thru time bursting with a genuine affection that you can feel the minute you step into the theater. The story of a passionate love affair that takes place once a year over twenty-five years, all within the walls of one hotel room, relies on all theatrical elements to deliver a peak performance, and Waterworks delivers just that.
In his directorial debut, Tucker has cultivated a perfectly intimate and worn atmosphere onstage that leans into the shared intimacy and comfortability of the Theater itself. The energy is only elevated with the use of lighting and sound design, done by Mike Montgomery and Paul Maserjian, respectively. Under the management of Alex Perkins, these elements swirl together to create a grainy yet comforting nostalgia that articulately sets the play’s tone immediately.
Of course, there would be no production without the actors, and for this production, that is an understatement. Same Time Next Year relies heavily on the work of only two characters, George and Doris. In order to give a more realistic sense of time progressing, Tucker implemented two sets of actors to play the couple. The younger versions, played by Elijah and Kolby Logue, are the ones to establish the love affair and its annual meeting place. With no surprise, the real-life married couple brings an adorably genuine affection for each other and their respective characters that leaves you giggling in your seat. Kolby’s animated expressions and impeccable comedic timing, contrasting with Elijah’s reserved excitement and endearing stoicism, creates a dichotomy with chemistry so palpable you forget you’re watching an affair take place.
As time passes and reality for the two sets in, the roles of George and Doris are literally changed as the 60s introduce Don Blaheta and Melissa Meinhard. Meinhard, in particular, shines as if Doris was written with her in mind, complimenting Blaheta’s versatility and enthusiasm.
The two feel like a natural progression as Meinhard and Blaheta match the Logues’ genuine energy while evolving the characters into the adults they were meant to be. Or perhaps, the adults they always were.
This play is bursting with love and creativity. From the hilarious maid service to innovate the scene changes to the stage direction acting out a waltz through time. Tucker has woven together a beautiful production that feels as earnest and genuine as the love portrayed onstage.
Everything down to the costuming (Sarah Varela) and props (Geraldine Mongold) felt cultivated with care and sincerity. This show succeeds because of the team that brought it together, and because of their success, Same Time Next Year touches your heart in a way that only good theatre can. The last weekend of this production will run February 24th and 25th at 8 pm at the Waterworks Theater off Industrial Park Rd. Tickets are $12 and are available at waterworksplayers.org/buytickets, and it is one you certainly don’t want to miss.