Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Date ***

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
This new musical at the Longacre Theatre takes us through a blind date between Aaron (Zachary Levi of TV's "Chuck"), an uptight, awkward Jewish financial analyst, and Casey (Krysta Rodriguez of TV's "Smash"), a Gentile free spirit with commitment issues and a taste for bad boys. The clever gimmick is that we also get to meet all the significant people in their lives who supply a ton of emotional baggage for the encounter. A versatile ensemble of five (Bryce Ryness, Kristoffer Cusick, Blake Hammond, Sara Chase and Kate Loprest) portray the waiter, Aaron's best friend, mother, grandmother, future son and ex-fiancee as well as Casey's sister, father, ex-boyfriends, therapist and gay best friend. The music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, who have written for Disney, is merely serviceable, but the book by Austin Winsberg has many flashes of wit. It helps a lot that Levi and Rodriguez are such appealing performers with good chemistry. David Gallo's set is not very attractive but functional. David C. Woolard's costumes are appropriate for the characters. Bill Berry's direction is unobtrusive. The theater was full and the mostly young audience was wildly enthusiastic. Good word of mouth may trump the critics here. I enjoyed it a lot more than "Nobody Loves You," which the Times made a Critic's Pick. Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission.

No comments: