One of the most exciting and hilarious shows to hit the Broadway stages is FIRST DATE! When two people with completely contrasting personalities are set up on a blind date, almost anything can happen- from paranoid background checks all the way to the appearance of crazy exes. With all the anticipation, audiences can’t help but want to know more.
I was fortunate enough to get the chance to talk with the charming Josh Rhodes, choreographer of the up and coming musical comedy FIRST DATE. Here’s what he had to say about his experience working on this hilarious new musical that brings to new light modern dating, love, and absolute hilarity.
So, tell me a little bit about FIRST DATE and what the experience has been like so far, with the cast, with the crew, with the whole production of it.
It’s been absolutely incredible. We just laugh our butts off this entire time. The musical is new and funny and everyone’s just been so amazing to work with. The actors and everyone in the company are just ridiculously talented, and I’m very lucky to have the chance to work with such a great group of people. Zach Levi and Krysta Rodriguez, the leads, are just absolutely incredible and so talented. Their chemistry onstage is amazing and I’m so grateful to be working with them. We work really hard with our long rehearsals, but we have a great time doing it.
FIRST DATE is a musical comedy about dating in the city. I really love how much ‘quirky love’ is a part of this show. It really summarizes truly how much baggage everyone in the city has when they go on a first date and how much technology has become a huge factor in modern dating. There’s an incredible amount of baggage you can bring into a date just by “Googling” their name and aspects like this are highlighted in the show. It really brings to the audience’s attention the incredible things about online dating- all these thousands of single people who are available online and you can meet an amazing person with just a click of a button. This type of dating is really great when you’re young and single because you go on some awesome dates and meet some incredible people, but if there’s just a few things wrong with their personality or something that rubbed you the wrong way you can just click on to the next person and see if they’re better suited for you. Although this is a really wonderful and fun way to date in the city, there’s also that fearful element of commitment. It becomes very hard to tell when it is time to take it to the next level. There has to come a time when you say to another person okay I like you and you have a lot of great qualities and a lot of not so great qualities, and I’m full of flaws myself but we can try to make this work. And I think that is one of the hardest elements to really find in a genuine dating relationship in the city and I think that this show really brings that out to fruition.
Now, your last show was choreographing another very romantic tale, Sondheim’s Cinderella. That must have been very different from this new show FIRST DATE! Can you tell me a little about the romantic differences between this show and the last one?
Cinderella was an amazing show to choreograph because there were all these beautiful, wholesome, feel-good numbers where all you wanted was Cinderella and the prince to get together and kiss at the end and they did and it was all a beautiful fairytale. There was ballroom dancing and just a total sense of true love emanating all the motions of the cast. It was a perfect love story and that was really beautifully told through the dance and through the music. It was such a great experience.
I loved working on Cinderella, but it is a very exciting and new experience to work with FIRST DATE. This show is obviously more modern and quirky, so we can have more liberties and be racier and sexier. Since it does depict a blind date in New York City, there are many awkward and funny moments that I get to choreograph. Instead of all those feel good dance numbers, in this show it’s actually the dance numbers that keep them apart! What I’m mostly involved in is the crazy situations the couples get themselves into and that’s where the mess and the hilarity of the show lies. Instead of having formal ballroom dancers like I had in Cinderella’s big numbers, this show calls for some unconventional scenes. For this show, the actors aren’t dancers per se, but they move incredibly well, which is what the show calls for, moreso than a traditional dancing background. It’s a 7 person cast, so the actors are doubling up on many of the roles and it’s just a transformation of character and movement that makes the cast so dynamic and fun to work with during these numbers. These people are amazing singers, actors, and comedians so it’s a brand new group of people with incredible talents that I get to work with in this show.
What are some of your favorite romantic elements of this show?
My favorite aspect of this show is definitely how realistic the situations of the show are, and the humor that follows that. The humor is really what brings this whole thing together because you watch these lovable characters try to succeed at this date and when they mess up you think to yourself, “I have definitely done that on a date!” It’s just so relatable and down to earth and incredibly funny. I think it’s actually a perfect opportunity for a first date because this show is an experience. Everyone can go to a cocktail hour and have that typical date, or you can come and have this experience where you sit and laugh your butt off together for an hour and a half and then you actually have something to talk about and bond over for the future! You also really get a chance to see the other person’s humor and honesty come out through seeing this play on a date. I just think it’s so great.
I also really love the musical score for this show. It’s unbelievable. It’s one of those albums that everyone will want a copy of for their cars because the songs are just so funny! It’s really how the plot line moves along. The singers and actors are just so fantastic. This is definitely a show that is relatable to all people in the city. This show is definitely not something to miss.
Josh Rhodes is a choreographer who has been featured in theaters, television shows, and movies all across the country. He studied at the University of Michigan and then moved to New York City to pursue his profession and art. He has worked on countless productions, most notably BROADWAY: THREE GENERATIONS at the Kennedy Center, featuring American Ballet Theatre’s Maria Riccetto, and Blaine Hoven, and COMPANY, starring Neil Patrick Harris at Lincoln Center. Rhodes has most recently choreographed SONDHEIM’S CINDERELLA on Broadway now.
FIRST DATE opens August 8th, 2013 and will run until January 5, 2014. To order tickets, contact telecharge at HERE
We hope you’re as excited as we are to see this fantastic new show!