Stone’s Throw director returns to ‘Same Time’

Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre’s performance of Same Time, Next Year, will not be the first time for director Bill Welsh.

Same Time, Next Year made its first Broadway appearance in 1975. In 1978, it was adapted into a film starring Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) and Ellen Burstyn. Even with big shoes to fill and expectations to live up to, Welsh has performed as George, which influenced his decision to direct the play, but it isn’t easier.

“Well, you have a lot more headaches as a director,” he said. “I have done this play before. It’s a very touching play that will both tickle funny bones as well as tug at heart strings. It’s a very entertaining play for audiences.

“[As director,] you worry about a lot more different things. It’s a lot of dialogue for the actors but its conversational dialogue and it flows pretty easily.”

The story revolves around two characters that are married to other spouses, but meet up once a year at the same place on the same weekend, beginning in February 1951. The two help each other over a 24-year period.

The actors had to do some historical research on figures and events of the times in order to get the right feel of the play.

“There’s some old actors that we weren’t really aware of that were before our time, like Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando is mentioned, of course I knew who Marlon Brando was,” said Mike Smith, who plays George. “There’s one scene set in the 60s and the Vietnam War has a lot to do with that one so that’s a pretty significant time period.”

Sports stars and newsmen were also included in the list of historical figures that needed research.

“Because the play begins in 1951, there are a lot of historical references to historical figures of the day that for Mike Smith and Erin Bader, it was kind of a history lesson for them,” Welsh said. “One example, there was a reference to Chet Huntley, the newsman. It kind of got the Scooby Doo look from them. They were like, ‘Who’s Chet Huntley?'” 

The play opens this Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the dessert performance and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 and includes the dessert.

Times, shows and prices can be found at Stone’s Throw is located at 796 S. Stone Lane in Carthage.