Its plans to open its new season with the local premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal gone awry, New Village Arts instead launched Season 12 with Bernard Slade’s 1975 romantic comedy Same Time, Next Year. It’s light and fluffy fare, with a few moments of genuine heartache. Real-life couple Manny and Melissa Fernandes obviously have crackerjack chemistry as married George from Jersey and married Doris from Oakland, who meet once a year at the same hotel for a tryst. The twist to the trysting is that they share much more than just sex.
Some of Same Time, Next Year feels old hat (Doris’ going into labor in front of a frantic George), and the nods to hippiedom, Vietnam and women’s lib won’t surprise anyone. But this is a story that purposely spans that era, and we’re reminded by a well-chosen musical soundtrack between scenes. The times they were a-changin’.
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David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.