Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Anyone who has gone on a first date knows that they’re lucky if it goes well. 

In FIRST DATE, the amusing new Broadway musical, we spend 95 minutes (no intermission) on a voyeuristic ride observing be-spectacled, business suit-clad, uptight, self-deprecating Aaron (Zachary Levi) who is set up with guarded, sassy hipster serial-dater Casey (Krysta Rodriguez).  They meet for a quick drink at a busy New York restaurant where they endeavor to banter….exchanging barbs and pleasantries, yet ultimately revealing their vulnerability and making a love connection.

As the date unfolds in real time, the seemingly mis-matched pair quickly finds they are not alone on this date as Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons, family members, exes, and the wait staff burst out in song and dance, offering advice, comment, criticism.

FIRST DATE stars Zachary Levi as Aaron and Krysta Rodriguez as Casey, features Sara Chase, Kristoffer Cusick (super funny as Casey’s BGF (best gay friend) who endeavors to save her on the date by calling her cell incessantly), Blake Hammond, Kate Loprest and Bryce Ryness, and the cast also includes Eric Ankrim, Kevin Kern, Vicki Noon and Sydney Shepherd.

 Levi, known for his role Chuck in the television show “Chuck,” delivers a winning performance with charm and heart. He has dead-on comic timing and a likeable ease and warmth, both on stage and with the material….particularly impressive given he’s making his Broadway debut.  And, he demonstrates capable singing chops…with a touch of hoofing thrown in.  I see a successful Broadway career in the making!

Rodriguez, from television “Smash” fame, and who played Wednesday in Addams Family on Broadway, has powerful pipes and edgy attitude and strut.  At times, her portrayal feels put on, but the set-up of a “bad” shiksa girl with a somewhat nerdy Jewish guy is a bit there isn’t a lot of freshness or room for originality here.

The book is by Austin Winsberg and music/lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner….an ambitious and promsing effort for Broadway-newbies.

The music is appealing enough, if not memorable.  The supporting cast playing multiple parts at rapid fire speed is strong and versatile.  And, the, at times, fanciful lighting, pops.

Fluff aside, what there is is a lot of laughs.  If you can suspend any desire for depth, the show makes for a fun and lively evening out.  It might have been better suited to the Off Broadway stage, but singles or anyone who has ever felt challenged by dating, will find something to relate to and chuckle about.       

FIRST DATE has scenic and media design by David Gallo, costume design by David C. Woolard, lighting design by Mike Baldassari, sound design by Kai Harada, Hair Design by Josh Marquette with orchestrations by August Eriksmoen and musical supervision, vocal and incidental arrangements by Dominick Amendum. 

FIRST DATE is produced by Junkyard Dog Productions (Randy Adams, Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Sue Frost) in association with Stem Productions, Altar Identity Studios, Alex and Katya Lukianov, Susan W. and James C. Blair Family  LP, Linda and Bill Potter, Yasuhiro Kawana, Vijay and Sita Vashee, Kevin and Lynn Foley, Jeff and Julie Goldstein, Edward and Mimi Kirsch, Frank and Denise Phillips, Stephen Reynolds and Paula Rosput Reynolds, Land Line Productions, Alhadeff Family Productions/Sheri and Les Biller , Pat Halloran/Laura Little Theatrical Productions,  Tony Meola/Remmel T. Dickinson and John Yonover, and ShadowCatcher Entertainment/Tom and Connie Walsh.

Visit It’s playing at the Longacre Theatre….after making its world premier at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.



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