No one ever enjoys the awkwardness of a blind date, but the endearing discomfort shown in Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez in their musical comedy First Date is quite a big exception.
This 90 minute show encompasses everything that could go wrong- and everything that could go right- on a first date. Levi and Rodriguez play quite an opposing couple in this musical comedy, but it’s their differences that really bring out the best in each other at the end. Levi plays Aaron, a quirky good guy who had never been on a blind date before this show. Rodriguez is Casey, the edgy tough girl who is a dating expert with a dark fear of commitment. The two meet at a New York City restaurant, and throughout the show, both are haunted by friends, family, and ex-lovers (Played by Bryce Ryness, Kristoffer Cusick, Blake Hammond, Sara Chase, and Kate Loprest) that influence the way they feel and act towards each other.
The date starts out clumsily, as Aaron digs himself into a hole with his charming lack of allure and Casey provides biting commentary and snarky quips. However, the two connect on their love of Quantum Leap and crazy stories about mutual friends and the drinks eventually turn into dinner with only a few awkward pauses and interruptions by Casey’s “bail out” phone calls from her friend Reggie (Cusick).
As the date continues, the baggage begins to truly unload. Audiences come to learn more about Aaron’s dark past with an ex-fiancée (Loprest), as well as an absent mother in more ways than one (Sara Chase). His thoughts go to his best friend Gabe (Ryness) as he tries to be a suave man while also showing his most tender sides. As Aaron becomes an open book to Casey, she becomes more closed, haunted by memories of past lovers (Ryness, Cusick) and her older sister (Chase) who inevitably has her life perfectly put together. The couple faces challenges such as the “friend zone,” past internet embarrassments, and even confronting past lovers. The two connect, and disconnect on so many different levels, leaving the audience always wanting to see more.
By the end of the date, the two are conflicted as to whether or not their love will last forever, or even to the next date, as expressed in the finale “Something That Will Last.” The audience is left holding their breath to really see whether or not the two will take the plunge- and make it to another date.
Although the show is a rather generic setting and plot- we’ve all seen two people who are never meant to be come together- Levi and Rodriguez give a depth to their characters that is unique to the show. The framework gives them ample room to grow into their lovable characters, and it’s this organic chemistry that makes the show so relatable to the audience. With each song, members of the audience smiled to themselves or nodded in agreement, as if to say “Hey- this happened to me too!” This show brings new dynamics and perspectives to dating in the city today that really makes audiences think productively about their relationship and the way they love. This show is a perfect option for any couple. Whether it’s a first date or a 500th, you’ll be sure to relate to this hilariously tender show.