Have you ever experienced the terror of a blind date? Then the new musical First Date is for you.
A new musical opened on Broadway this season with a rare 90 minute, no intermission format called First Date. First Date follows the standard Rom-Com plot-line except that it is compressed into a one evening blind date. Nerdy, Awkward Guy goes on a blind date with Sarcastic, Aggressive Girl set up by a mutual friend. They go through the motions of their date with interruptions from an ensemble of friends and relatives mostly through internal conversations. From the outset, the audience knows full well how the date will end.
First Date stars Zachary Levi making his Broadway debut (Chuck, Less Than Perfect) as Aaron the nervous Jewish guy with a good job and Krysta Rodriguez (Smash, In the Heights) as Casy an brash, athiest FDS (first-date slut). Blake Hammond stars as a waiter, among other characters, who has dealt with many first daters in his bar. Rounding out the cast are Bryce Ryness, Kristoffer Cusick, Sara Chase, Kate Loprest. who play characters ranging from best friends to sisters to an ex-finaneé and even a dead grandmother.
While the show is very cookie-cutter in plot, the actors, especially Levi and Rodriguez, time their beats to make the old or classic (you pick the adjective) jokes work. The songs are your typical Broadway-style tunes: defining the plot opening number; flashy show-stoppers and heartwarming ballads. The set looks like any modern bar/restaurant in NYC with lighting to match. Costumes and set design is set up to allow for quick character changes of the ensemble cast without them having to leave stage very often. In fact the only character who spends any significant time off-stage is the waiter.
While the show received mixed to bad reviews from most of the press, it doesn't seem to be a show written to please them or the traditional Broadway audience but to introduce new people to the world of musical theatre. The audience I saw it with laughed throughout the entire show and it fed the cast allowing them to up their game.
The book is written by Austin Winsberg, a veteran sit-com writer obvious to anyone who sees the show. Music and lyrics are by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, who have mostly written for Disney. They provide a very pop-oriented style to show. What makes the show go besides the chemistry of Levi and Rodriguez is the direction and staging from Bill Berry and Josh Rhodes respectively. They keep the scenes moving and provide subtle but effective comedic moments that enhance what is otherwise would be a bland show.
Below you'll find a few more songs from the show. Enjoy!
Song begins at the 2:20 mark.