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Play debuts Saturday at Waterworks

It is December 1940 and two young strangers meet on an east-bound cross-country train. May, who plans to be a missionary, shares a crowded seat with Raleigh, a medically discharged flyer with dreams of becoming a writer. Far from home, they are both surprised to learn they grew up close to each other in neighboring Appalachian towns. Their serendipitous encounter leaves both desirous of meeting again, with Raleigh promising to take May to the next Nibroc Festival.

On Saturday, Waterworks Players hosts the Illyria Theatre Company for Last Train to Nibroc, a funny and touching portrait of two people searching for happiness.

“The playwright — Arlene Hutton — is a three-time winner of the Samuel French Short Play Festival, a Francesca Primus Prize finalist and recipient of the Lippman and Calloway Awards,” Waterworks officials said in a press release. “Last Train to Nibroc is a romantic comedy the Associated Press calls ‘… a gently charming little play, reminiscent of Thornton Wilder in its look at rustic Americans who are to be treasured for their simplicity and directness.’ The Financial Times notes, “It is beautifully written … every line is a heartbeat,’ while Backstage calls the play, ‘A character study that has originality and charm.’”

Lacy Klinger, a professional actor, director and choreographer and the assistant professor in Longwood’s Theatre program, plays the religious and bookish May. Lacy’s most recent acting credits include Rosa Budd in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Poppy in Noises Off!, and Mrs. Kendall in The Elephant Man

According to the release, Peter Surace plays Raleigh, an aspiring author with dreams of moving to New York. “Surace is also a professional actor hailing from New York City, whose career includes the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mary Poppins, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and And Then There Were None. After performing with the Illyria Theatre Company, Peter sets sail aboard the Disney Magic Cruise, playing Prince Charming in Twice Charmed and Disney Dreams, and the King/Captain in Tangled: The Musical.

Last Train to Nibroc is a sweet and southern romance,” Klinger said. “May’s and Raleigh’s innocence and decency are funny, moving and tender … it’s clear from their first encounter on the train that they are a match.”

Join Waterworks Players and the Illyria Theatre Company on Saturday at 8 p.m. for a special Valentine’s event. Tickets are $15 per person and each ticket includes a glass of wine courtesy of The Virginia Tasting Cellar. Tickets can be obtained by visiting waterworksplayers.org/buytickets or calling the box office at (434) 392-3452. Visit www.illyriatheatrecompany.com for more information about Peter, Lacy and ITC.