First dates can be awkward. “First Date”, now playing at the Longacre Theater shows just how uncomfortable they can be. When Aaron (Zachary Levi ), a nice Jewish boy ,is set up on his first blind date by his office mate with Casey (Krista Rodriguez), the friend’s sister-in-law, it looks like a total mismatch. Casey, tattooed and looking like she’s “been there, done that” and Aaron, a nerdy-looking young businessman, are awkward from the start. Not knowing how to greet one another, she extends her arm to shake his. He returns her gesture by turning it into a secret handshake. After a few drinks at the bar, she says he’s annoying – a BDV (Blind date virgin). He comes back saying she’s artsy (thinking she’s like the girls who wouldn’t give him the time of day in High School) and then calls her a BDS (Blind date slut). Open mouth, change foot.
We don’t have to guess about the couple’s thoughts; they are played out for us by a cast of five extremely talented actors. When Casey, who plays a mean game of Jewish geography, reveals she is a gentile, Jewish guilt is played out hilariously. Of course, disapproval comes from both sides as Aaron imagines her disapproving father/”Father”. Later Casey imagines the “bad boys” she’s usually attracted to and decides they should just be friends. Aaron’s mind often wanders to his ex – girlfriend, Allison, who he’s never gotten over. Yet through it all, she fails to answer her “bailout “calls and he invites her to find a table and have some dinner. Could some changes be on the way?
Zachary Levi (Broadway debut), popular among young fans for his starring role in TV’s Chuck, is a tall, dark, handsome nice Jewish boy. He and Krista Rodriguez (TV – Smash) turn in engaging performances that let us see their outsides while their insides are being acted out hilariously on stage. Together with the rest of the extremely talented and expressive cast, they take us on a very true to life journey through what can be one of life’s most trying experiences.
This relatively new to the scene Austin Winsberg (book), Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner (Music & Lyrics) have taken on an uncomfortable experience and exposed many of the bumps and bruises one experiences on the way to finding that “last date”. It isn’t the most pressing of issues, but one that everyone can relate to and find some if not much of themselves in. Add a great band and creative sets and it all wraps up for a wonderful evening of laughter and even some food for thought. Go, relax and enjoy!