When True Colors Theatre Company asked Chris Coleman to direct his old friend Kenny Leon and the luminous Phylicia Rashad in the 1975 play Same Time, Next Year, the former Atlantan and cofounder of Actor’s Express first thought, “Oh my God, that’s kind of random.” Then he became titillated by the thought. “Getting the job of making Kenny Leon make out with Phylicia Rashad —come on! Who is going to turn that down?” It’s also a chance for Coleman to get reacquainted with his hometown since departing to run Portland Center Stage in 2000.
Same Time, Next Year, by Bewitched writer Bernard Slade, is about a couple who carry on an affair for twenty-five years. Rashad and Leon, a winner at this year’s Tony Awards, selected the play (running through August 3 at Southwest Arts Center) so they could act together.
Coleman last directed Leon in a high-profile 1993 Actor’s Express production of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, in which Leon played opposite his then-wife, the late Carol Mitchell-Leon. “I am very curious to see if he can still learn his lines,” Coleman jokes of Leon.
This article originally appeared in our August 2014 issue.