Chicago Theater Review: FIRST DATE (Royal George)

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by Barnaby Hughes on February 15, 2015

in Theater-Chicago

EVERYTHING A FIRST DATE SHOULD BE

First Date, an enjoyable new musical comedy that opened on Broadway in 2013, should really be called Blind Date. Its two principal protagonists, awkward Aaron (Charlie Lubeck) and artsy Casey (Dana Parker), have never met before. They’ve been set up on a dinner date by friends. Aaron’s still trying to get over his ex-girlfriend Allison (Anne Litchfield Calderon), while Casey has a spiky personality that sends men scurrying. Rather predictably, and with lots of rom-com clichés and pop culture references dotting the way, the two happily form a connection.

FIRST DATE (Royal George Cabaret in Chicago)

Running 90 minutes without intermission, First Date is a fairly focused and light-hearted look at a dating culture that is fast disappearing in the face of quick hookups fueled by free apps. Austin Winsberg’s book, along with Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner’s music and lyrics, provides more of a celebration than a critique of first date mythology. We witness Aaron and Casey trying to make small talk, agonizing over what to order, fighting for the check, etc.—all punctuated by song and dance numbers reminiscent of Glee and High School Musical.

FIRST DATE (Royal George Cabaret in Chicago)

Charlie Lubeck and Dana Parker are perfectly cast as Aaron and Casey. An entirely believable and incredibly attractive couple, their chemistry and charisma easily sustain the drama, hold our attention, and capture our hearts. Of the five supporting cast members that each play numerous characters, Adam Fane steals the spotlight every time. Especially as Bestie Reggie, who calls Casey throughout the night, at first to give her an out if she needs to ditch her date, Fane boasts abundant energy, humor and sass. Considering the cramped quarters of the Royal George’s cabaret stage, director J.R. Rose has assembled a fine, fun-filled production.

FIRST DATE (Royal George Cabaret in Chicago)

photos courtesy of First Date

FIRST DATE (Royal George Cabaret in Chicago)First Date
Royal George Cabaret
1641 North Halsted
ends on April 26, 2015
EXTENDED to May 17, 2015
for tickets, call 312.998.9000
or visit www.firstdatechi.com

for info on Chicago Theater,
visit www.TheatreinChicago.com

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