REVIEW: SDMT's Wild "First Date"
San Diego Musical Theatre
SDMT's "First Date"
Photos by Ken Jacques
Want a no holds barred comedy designed to make audiences lose their minds from laughing? First Date, a San Diego Musical Theatre production, delivers––and then some.
First Date tells the story of blind date virgin Aaron (played by the awkwardly charming Joshua David Cavanaugh) as he meets commitment-phobic Casey (relatably conflicted, as played by Cassandra Nuss) for a first date. Through hilarious inner critics and visions of family and friends, Casey and Aaron navigate the relatable twists and turns of an awkward first date––from questions of religion to taboo topics, First Date covers it all with a joyful glee that left the audience in stitches.
The book for the production was written by Austin Winsberg, with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. First Date originally premiered in 2012 in Seattle, before it went on to Broadway for a five-month, 208 performance run. San Diego Musical Theatre's production was directed by the deft Jeremy Scott Lapp, who is the Artistic Director of The Barn Stage Company in Temecula, California.
Though the musical could quickly become too outdated (Tinder and Bumble are the new Match.com), thanks to the growing popularity of internet and app dating, the blind date pitfalls and fears shown in First Date are universal and make up for some of the 2013 slang.
The production boasts a cast brimming with comedic timing and talent for making outlandish characters come to life. Zackary Scot Wolfe stands out as Gabe, Aaron's bro-tastic best friend who is determined to get him laid. Lauren King Thompson shines as Lauren, Casey's sweet, yet overbearing, older sister. Jonathan Sangster draws perhaps the most laughs of the night as Reggie, Casey's gay best friend, while Lindsay Joan is the sultry, conniving Allison, the ex-fiancée to Aaron. Finally, John Massey plays the brazen waiter with musical dreams.
First Date is one of SDMT's two off-Broadway productions this season (the other being Pump Up the Volume: A '90s Palooza) held at the Horton Grand Theatre located next to the Horton Grand hotel. The production runs through May 7th every Thursday through Saturday night (with Saturday and Sunday matinees available). Tickets to First Date are available through San Diego Musical Theatre's website.
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