Theater review: ‘First Date’ is a comedy for lovers

The cast of "First Date" shows off.  Credit: Chris Owyoung
The cast of “First Date” shows off.
Credit: Chris Owyoung

Ever been terrified of a first (especially blind) date? You’re not alone. “First Date” novelist Austin Winsberg taps into that fear with wit and whimsy. Lyrics and music by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner cleverly reinforce the lingering dread that your companion for the evening might just be a serial killer.

After a crisp opening number about blind dates, the play focuses on slightly nerdy, mildly uptight finance type Aaron (Zachary Levi), who’s waiting to encounter hip and happening, commitment-phobic art gallery worker Casey (Krysta Roriguez). Initially they don’t hit it off. And every time they start to connect, something gets in the way. A case in point: Early on, they discover they grew up in the same general area and run through one Jewish-named acquaintance after another. Then Casey says, “even though I’m not Jewish” and present action stops. All kinds of costumed relations materialize to convince Aaron that this shiksa is not the girl for him. Reminiscent of the dream sequence from “Fiddler on the Roof,” it’s hilarious.

The same device — freezing present action to have close friends and distant relatives give bad advice — is used with great finesse throughout. It’s the framework for just about every song, most of which are very funny. And its consistency really holds the show together.

Music is reliably enjoyable, mostly middle-of–the road rock, with an occasional harder or folksier riff. The leads are strong singers and throw themselves full-throttle into their characters. Meanwhile, the supporting cast of five — Bryce Ryness, Sara Chase, Kristoffer Cusick, Blake Hammond and Kate Loprest — shows great versatility playing a jumble of wackos with zest and humor.

‘First Date’
Open Run
Longacre Theatre
220 West 48th Street
$35 to $137
www.firstdatethemusical.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

How Daysean Brock's story of being beaten and…

An outlandish story of blatant drug use inside police headquarters and beatings by several officers, told by a man charged with murder, was deemed not believable by a Philadelphia judge…

Local

Masked men robbed armored car in Mayfair, police…

Two masked men made off with more than $100,000 this morning after an armored car heist in Northeast Philadelphia, police said.

Local

Teen in 'Jihad Jane' terror case to be…

A judge on Thursday is set to sentence a high school student who pleaded guilty to helping al Qaeda and working with the woman known as "Jihad Jane."

International

Putin fields question from NSA fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Going Out

Tickets on sale for Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival…

It may be hard to believe but spring weather is finally just about here, which in Philly means festivals every weekend — including the annual…

Music

Center City Jazz Festival takes over four venues…

Shortly after graduating from Temple University, jazz musician Ernest Stuart packed up his trombone and headed to New York City. Soon he was gigging and…

The Word

Lawsuit accuses 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of raping…

A new lawsuit accuses director Bryan Singer of sexual assault against a minor.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

Parenting

Star-studded summer camps

Give your child the star treatment this summer with a celebrity-endorsed camp.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…