By Derrel “Jazz” Johnson
For those who have gone on first dates, and I would assume that would be nearly everyone, there is a certain amount of anxiety that goes with going out with someone for the first time. As a single gentleman who has never been married, I’ve experienced my fair share of butterflies in my stomach when meeting a special young lady. Others, I’ve looked at my watch, hoping that time would pass by quickly. First Date is a new musical that examines the pressure of a first date from both the male and female perspective, complete with numerous flashbacks that are hilarious.
The musical begins with a nervous Aaron, played by Zachary Levi (who played Chuck in the NBC television show of the same name) waiting on his date inside of a restaurant in New York City. Aaron is a banker who is plagued by the usual first date questions a man has, like am I overdressed, am I her type, is she my type, what should I order, what subjects not to discuss, and so on.
Casey, his date, who is the sister of a coworker’s wife, is more of a serial dater, an independent woman who usually goes for bad boys, we soon discover, which Aaron is definitely not. Casey is played by Krysta Rodriguez, who has appeared in The Addams Family on Broadway and the NBC series Smash.
During the course of the date, each character is visited by characters from their past and future, including parents and grandparents, ex fiancées and lovers, best friends, even a future child.
Excellent performances are given by the ensemble cast, led by Kristoffer Cusick, who plays the energetic and eccentric character of Reggie, Casey’s best friend, who is gay. Reggie is responsible for calling Casey shortly after the date begins, giving her a bailout if the date isn’t going well. Reggie has an overactive imagination, which eventually leads him to thinking something horrible has happened. Cusick also plays the future offspring of Aaron and Casey, a confused youngster who raps about the root of his problem, the different faith of his parents.
First Date is a musical that will make you laugh, it will educate you on what you should and shouldn’t say on a first date, and, like the characters in the play, it will make you reminisce about past loves and first dates. I think anyone who sees this show would enjoy it, even if you are going out on a first date. It may give you some pointers on how to make it to a second date.