Longacre Theatre, (8/08/2013 - 1/05/2014)

First Preview: Jul 09, 2013
Opening Date: Aug 08, 2013
Closing Date: Jan 05, 2014
Total Previews: 34
Total Performances: 174

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Junkyard Dog Productions, Stem Productions, Altar Identity Studios, Alex and Katya Lukianov, Susan and Jim Blair and Linda and Bill Potter; Produced in association with Yasuhiro Kawana, Vijay and Sita Vashee, Kevin and Lynn Foley, Jeff and Julie Goldstein, Edward and Mimi Kirsch, Frank and Denise Phillips, Steve 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

Originally co-produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre (David Armstrong, Executive Producer and Artistic Director; Bernadine Griffin, Managing Director; Bill Berry, Producing Director) and A Contemporary Theatre (Kurt Beattie, Artistic Director; Carlo Scandiuzzi, Executive Director)

Book by Austin Winsberg; Music by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner; Lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner; Music orchestrated by August Eriksmoen; Vocal arrangements by Dominick Amendum; Incidental Music arrangements by Dominick Amendum

Directed by Bill Berry; Musical Staging by Josh Rhodes; Associate Choreographer: Lee A. Wilkins

Scenic Design by David Gallo; 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; Associate Scenic Design: Steven C. Kemp; Associate Video Design: Brad Peterson; Associate Sound Design: Jana Hoglund

General Manager: Alchemy Production Group LLC, Carl Pasbjerg and Frank Scardino; Company Manager: Jim Brandeberry

Production Manager: Juniper Street Productions; Production Stage Manager: Arturo E. Porazzi; Stage Manager: Gary Mickelson

Musical Coordinator: Michael Keller; Musical Supervisor: Dominick Amendum; Conducted by Dominick Amendum; Associate Conductor: Matt Hinkley; Keyboard 1: Dominick Amendum; Keyboard 2/Guitars: Matt Hinkley; Reeds/Keyboard 3: Charles Pillow; Guitars: JJ McGeehan; Bass: Randy Landau; Drums: Steve Bartosik

Dance Captain: Kevin Kern; Casting: Telsey + Company and Rachel Hoffman, CSA; General Press Representative: The Hartman Group; Marketing: AKA; Advertising: AKA; Digital and Website: AKA

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Opening Night Cast

Zachary Levi
Broadway debut
Aaron
Krysta RodriguezCasey
Sara ChaseWoman # 1
Grandma Ida, Lauren, Aaron's Mother
Kristoffer CusickMan # 2
Reggie, Aaron's Future Son, Edgy Rocker Guy
Blake HammondMan # 3
Waiter, Casey's Father, Friendly Therapist
Kate LoprestWoman # 2
Allison, Google
Bryce RynessMan # 1
Gabe, Edgy British Guy

Standby: Eric Ankrim (Aaron, Man # 1, Man # 2, Man # 3), Kevin Kern (Aaron, Man # 1, Man # 2, Man # 3), Vicki Noon (Casey, Woman # 1, Woman # 2) and Sydney Shepherd (Casey, Woman # 1, Woman # 2)

Awards and Nominations

Theatre World

winner 2014 Award [recipient] 

Zachary Levi

Songs

The One
(music by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner; lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner )
Company
First ImpressionsAaron and Casey
Bailout Song # 1Reggie
The Girl for YouCompany
The Awkward PauseCompany
Allison's Theme # 1Allison
That's Why You Love MeBad Boys
Bailout Song # 2Reggie
SaferCasey
I'd Order LoveWaiter
Allison's Theme # 2Aaron, Allison and Gabe
The Things I Never SaidAaron and Aaron's Mother
Bailout Song # 3Reggie
In Love With YouAaron
The Check!Company
Something That Will LastCasey, Aaron and Company

Reviews


AP: "Inner voices confound couple in madcap Broadway musical 'First Date'"

An awkward blind date has the potential for great comedy — as long as it's not happening to you. In an alternate world, such a date might unfold amid a series of snappy musical numbers with irreverent lyrics. As the clumsy encounter unfolded, maybe the couple's inner baggage would even surround them with song and dance.

That's the entertaining idea behind the sassy new musical comedy, "First Date." The overall tone is satiric, but there's a sneakily persistent undercurrent of optimism in the fun, fast-paced production that opened Thursday night at the Longacre Theatre.

Handsome Zachary Levi (of TV's "Chuck") dons dorky glasses as nervous, nerdy, blind-date newbie Aaron. Krysta Rodriguez ("The Addams Family" and TV's "Smash") is world-weary and edgy as hip, jaded Casey, a sophisticated veteran of the dating wars.

After a cynical opening number about how difficult it is to find "The One," which includes daters' laments like, "Where the hell's the fairy tale!," the duo meet up in a restaurant. He's earnest and bumbling; she's suspicious and off-putting, giving him dating tips and judging his every move.

Their tentative conversation is soon interrupted with well-choreographed antics, performed by an ensemble of five energetic actors in multiple roles, as the seemingly mismatched couple's inner thoughts are enacted around them. A bevy of imaginary characters muddy the already-choppy waters, including disapproving relatives and inappropriate exes.

The book by "Gossip Girl" writer Austin Winsberg provides the couple with plenty of flippant repartee. A madcap mashup of musical styles and lyrics blazing with one-liners are provided by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Director Bill Berry keeps a steady pace amid the dynamic musical staging by Josh Rhodes.

Making his Broadway debut, Levi has a strong leading-man presence, smooth in his dance moves while handling Aaron's nervous gaffes with comedic flair. Aaron's baggage includes a womanizing best friend, Gabe (a sly, hipsterish Bryce Ryness), and a selfish, unstable ex-girlfriend, Allison (played with sultry aloofness by Kate Loprest). Levi knocks it out of the park with his mesmerizing solo, "In Love With You," a get-it-off-your-chest, often misogynistic number bursting with invective against Allison.

Rodriguez is polished and cool, gradually showing underlying vulnerability as Casey unbends a little. Casey interacts in her head with her still-alluring, bad-boy ex-boyfriends and her know-it-all big sister Lauren (Sara Chase), among others. Performing "Safer," Casey's lovely lament wondering why she can't find the right guy, Rodriguez delivers with emotion and class.

One of the funnier bits is a fevered performance by Kristoffer Cusick as Casey's best friend Reggie. He calls her several times to offer variations of "The Bailout Song," so she can get out of the date if necessary with an excuse. Blake Hammond is quite entertaining in a variety of roles, primarily as a waiter who encourages the daters toward success.

While many of the songs are harmlessly humorous, a religion-themed number, "The Girl For You," veers toward simplistically offensive, as Jewish stereotypes clash with Roman Catholic ones (Aaron's Jewish, Casey is not). Aaron brings up the subject of a treasured letter from his deceased mother (played by Chase) which seems oddly downbeat for a date, but leads into a poignant duet between Chase and Levi about a mother's love and regrets, called "The Things I Never Said."

"Something That Will Last" is Casey and Aaron's final duet, about the uncertainties of falling in love. Never mind love, will they even make it to a second date? The point is that after just 90 minutes with this mismatched couple and their comical parade of demanding advisers, we still care how it turns out.


AP
08/08/2013

New York Daily News: "First Date"

Let’s just say it: The mating-game musical “First Date” isn’t first-rate. Third-tier is more like it. Or below-deck, since this singing catalogue of cliches by a team of Broadway rookies would fit better on a cruise ship than the Great White Way.

The show follows financial analyst Aaron (Zachary Levi of “Chuck”) during his New York rendezvous with gallery girl Casey (Krysta Rodriguez of “Smash”). Aaron is nice (down to his blue suit and brown shoes), nerdy, stumbling, Jewish. Casey is spiky (including her cool red-and-black mini and black boots), confident, commitment-phobic, non-Jewish.

Can opposites attract? Oh, hell, what do you think?

But that’s the well-traveled road we’re led down by composers/lyricists Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, who’ve worked for Disney, and book writer Austin Winsberg, whose credits include “Gossip Girl.” Along the way, the trio hits every familiar mile marker — from inevitable awkward pauses to the who’ll-pay-the check dilemma. Zzzz.

The show unfolds in real time in a nondescript restaurant. A multitasking ensemble — Sara Chase, Kristoffer Cusick, Blake Hammond, Kate Loprest and Bryce Ryness — pop up, Greek chorus-style. They play friends, parents, siblings, ex-lovers and therapists who speak and sing in Aaron’s and Casey’s heads during the date.

The songs are peppy but generic. The script boasts a couple of laughs, including when Casey says a cheeseburger sounds great. “It sure does,” scolds her sister, “if you’re trying to make weight right before a big sumo wrestling competition.”

But that’s a bright spot amid buzzkill. Phone calls by Casey’s megagay BFF, intended to bail her out of the date if needed, increasingly grate. The lengthy solo by a singing waiter is filler in a show with two leads sitting frozen too much of the time.

That detail has escaped director Bill Berry, of Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle, where the show ran last year. His strategy: Throw in lots of tricks to see what sticks — megaphones, a leaf blower and talking video screens. But he lets Casey get saddled with saying things like “turn that frown upside down.”

Despite such clunkers, Rodgriguez cuts a strong presence. She has a pretty, but not especially colorful, voice. Levi, who sang in the cartoon “Tangled,” is a pleasant enough singer and does the required geeky self-deprecation very well. All fine, but not enough to recommend the show.

“First Date” runs 90 minutes without intermission. In other words, there’s no chance to bail out.


New York Daily News
08/08/2013

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Longacre Theatre

(8/8/2013 - 1/5/2014)

Cast

Eric Ankrim
during Zachary Levi's absence
Aaron (Jul 16, 2013 - Jul 21, 2013)


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