First Date. Longacre Theatre (see Broadway). Book by Austin Winsberg. Music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Directed by Bill Berry. With Zachary Levi, Krysta Rodriguez. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.
First Date: in brief
Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Krysta Rodriguez (Smash) try to hook up in this new musical about the pleasures and agonies of the blind date. Gossip Girl writer Austin Winsberg provides the book, while the bouncy tunes are by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Bill Berry of Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre directs.
First Date: theater review by David Cote
Part of my job is to be your cultural matchmaker. And so…should I set you up with First Date, sight unseen? Is this cute and frisky musical worth your time and money? Or will initial charm yield to irritation at a one-act comedy that is mostly sitcom quirk, one-liners and a laundry list of barely tweaked gender stereotypes? Despite a little overeagerness, First Date isn’t a bad night out (provided you don’t expect deep engagement).
If ever there were the platonic ideal of a Broadway summer engagement, this is it: no serious competition, low expectations, emerging talent. There is skill on display in Austin Winsberg’s anything-for-a-laugh book and the inoffensive light-rock score by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. But the main selling points are the love interests, meeting in a restaurant for possible romance: uptight office drone Aaron (Levi) and boho babe Casey (Rodriguez). They meet awkward, get on each other’s nerves, say the wrong things and proceed to screw everything up. Can we reasonably expect an eleventh-hour clinch?
The 90-minute musical is structured in real time, with cartoonish forays into the daters’ inner neuroses—he worries, in a goofy Fiddler-esque romp, what his Jewish relatives would think of the shiksa; she’s haunted by memories of past bad boys. Bill Berry’s jaunty staging keeps the laughs coming, and both leads have charm and vocal chops. Not every hookup has to be forever; First Date aims its love arrow for the middle and hits it with aplomb.—Theater review by David Cote
Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote
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