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NY1 Theater Review: "First Date"

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A new Broadway musical called "First Date" looks at the trials and tribulations of, appropriately, a first date. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

The "dating game" is hot this summer on NY stages. Earlier, we saw "Nobody Loves You," and now, "First Date." Both fun and very funny new musicals, they handle that universal right of passage with a fine light touch. "First Date" is enhanced by a pair of boffo lead performances that make a perfect match in Broadway's newest musical.

The premise is simple. Aaron and Casey are on a blind date. He's new to the dating scene, having undergone a nasty breakup earlier. She's a cynical veteran. He's a nice guy. She likes bad boys. He's nerdy. She's hip. On the surface, it's a cliched setup for opposites attracting. But as produced and executed, it's an absolute charmer.

Austin Winsberg's delightfully clever book, with snappy tunes by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, take us through the brutally awkward getting-to-know-you phase of the first date. And it's all enhanced by an ensemble of five players in various roles acting out the imagined inner voices of opinionated friends and family.

Such potential deal breakers as religion, past relationships and the dreaded goodnight kiss are all prime fodder for this excellent company handling each clumsy exchange with comic precision.

Zachary Levi, best known for TV roles, is making a terrific Broadway debut as a song and dance man. With the natural instincts of a comic veteran, he elevates awkwardness to an art form. And Krysta Rodriguez, who is a stage veteran, is the perfect foil. So good is their chemistry together, I wouldn't be surprised to discover they were cooked up in a lab!

First dates often feel like an eternity, but under Bill Berry's animated direction, this is one "First Date" you don’t want to end.

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