On Saturday my friend Jenny and I took a day trip up to New York City to see First Date on Broadway. It’s a new musical starring Zachary Levi, who played Chuck on the tv show Chuck and Krysta Rodriguez, who has been in other Broadway shows but most recently played Ana on Smash. I didn’t realize she had been in the original Broadway cast of In the Heights until I was reading her bio in the Playbill for this show, so I must have seen her in that as well. Zachary Levi is one of the many tv boyfriends Jenny and I share and we both love Broadway musicals, so when this show was getting ready to go into previews I said something over Twitter to Jenny saying we should take a day trip up to see it. She replied in some way that made me realize she didn’t think I was being serious, so I told no in fact I am totally serious about doing this at which point she was in. We found a mutually agreeable date and bought tickets.
She left her husband home with their 6 month old son. He apparently was excited to hang with the baby and watch football all day. My husband on the other hand thanked me both for not making him go to the show with me and for not leaving him home with a baby and football. Somehow I don’t think they would be as agreeable to us going away together on the Broadway cruise to French Polynesia we saw advertised in our Playbills. Not only did it go to awesome places like Bora Bora there was is some amazing Broadway talent on that cruise like Audra McDonald and Sutton Foster.
We took the Megabus up and back. Everything went smoothly there. I still don’t like the pick up location for the Megabus in New York across from the Javits Center because there’s nothing else around there. At least it’s less creepy walking over there in the daytime as opposed to last time I did it in the dark.
After our arrival we walked up to the theater district and grabbed lunch at the Glass House Tavern, which I had determined looked like a good spot when looking online the night before. As it was a Saturday morning, they were serving brunch when we were there. It was quite delicious. You can tell they are definitely accustomed to feeding people prior to the theater because even on a Saturday around noon they asked us if we were going to a show to make sure we were in and out in enough time. It wasn’t super busy while we there anyway, and our food came out ridiculously fast. Granted we both just ordered salads with chicken on them but it was still impressive.
As for the show itself, if you read any of the reviews you would probably pick any other show currently on Broadway to see instead. I myself did not have high expectations going in, but didn’t really care because mostly I was just there to see Zachary Levi. I am here to tell you that the reviews are wrong. I mean maybe not completely wrong. First Date is definitely not something I would be nominating for any Tonys and let’s face it I’m not going to be rushing out to buy the cast recording any time soon. However, it was an extremely enjoyable afternoon at the theater. The show was very funny, and the audience was laughing heartily throughout. Even the New York Times critic reluctantly agree that even though he hated pretty much everything about, the audience was in to it. “I also feel honor-bound to report that the audience at the performance I attended seemed to respond with genuine warmth. In fact, they were a virtual live laugh track, erupting with gusts of guffaws at each worn joke or familiar torque in the give-and-take between Aaron and Casey.”
It’s a short 90 minute musical that takes place in one act. I think that was the right decision as the show sort of plays like a romantic comedy for which 90 minutes is the appropriate length. Any longer than that and they start to drag. Zachary Levi plays Aaron and Krysta Rodriguez plays Casey, a couple who are on a blind date. Their characters are such that it really could have been a blind date between the tv characters Chuck and Ana, which if you watched those shows gives a you quick primer to the characters and how they might interact on a date. The other 5 people in the cast play various people from their lives like parents, siblings, friends, and exes giving them advice in their heads about this particular date. As I mentioned the music itself was fine, but nothing memorable though the lyrics often proved amusing. I don’t care that the show wasn’t high concept or whatever it takes to make a theater critic think it was good. I paid to be entertained for 90 minutes and I certainly was. I have spent a lot more money to see shows that I did not enjoy nearly as much as I did this one. I’m really glad we went, and if someone was looking to see a light, fun show I would definitely recommend this one.
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