1977 Diahann joined actor Cleavon Little on stage to do the comedy Same
Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade, under the direction of Warren
Crane. Carol Burnett and Dick Van Dyke were completing a limited run of this
play at the Huntington Hartford Theatre when the producer approached Diahann,
asking her if she wanted to do the play for four weeks. Ms. Carroll had just
recently lost her husband (Robert DeLeon) in a terrible accident, and really
didn't think she was up for it, but as she writes in her book, Diahann!,
she decided to take the chance;
"It turned out to be the best thing I could have done. I was required to go to the theater every day to rehearse. I had to learn my lines. I had to work in the evenings with my drama coach. There was hardly a moment to think about anything else."
Same Time, Next Year is a two-character romantic comedy about a couple who meets only once a year. The original New York production was directed by Gene Saks, but Warren Crane took over for the Los Angeles production. Diahann played the character Doris, and Cleavon Little played George. Little had been in movies such as Blazing Saddles and on TV (Temperatures Rising, All In The Family). He had also been on Broadway (Purlie).