Aired on KSDS-FM on 4/21/17
RUN DATES: 3/31/17 – 5/7/17
VENUE: San Diego Musical Theatre
Surely you’ve experienced “The Awkward Pause” a time or two. And you’ve had both accurate and erroneous “First Impressions,” while you were on the prowl for “The One.”
Those are all song titles in the small-cast, small-scale musical comedy, “First Date.”
Anyone who’s ever been on a blind date – and who hasn’t? – will find something to relate to – from the recognition that being Googled may reveal a few things about you that you’d rather a potential mate didn’t know, to the dilemma of deciding who pays the check for the drinks or first meal.
Not to mention those voices in your head – which, in this show, include a dead grandmother, an ex-fiancée, a psychotherapist, a future son, and a bestie who offers exit-friendly ‘bailout’ phonecalls.
Most of this territory has been trod before, but book writer Austin Winsberg, whose credits include TV’s “Gossip Girl,” gives the material a spunky, often-clever spin, backed by a peppy pop-rock score by Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner. It all takes place in a stylish Manhattan bistro which, in the San Diego Musical Theatre production, is tastefully designed and lit.
Casey is a serial dater, a sassy, self-assured Boho-wannabe, dolled up in a skin-tight, short red dress (which big-voiced Cassandra Nuss fussed with all through the musical’s 90 minutes).
Then there’s Aaron, dexterously played by Joshua David Cavanaugh as a self-conscious geek, and what Casey calls a BDV, Blind Date Virgin.
They seem like an incredible mismatch, though they’re very credibly portrayed. But you know exactly how things will turn out, despite the interminable interruptions from those omnipresent disrupters, amusingly portrayed by five very versatile actors
Casey’s sister keeps telling her to tone it down, and Aaron’s buddy keeps telling him to pump it up — with machismo.
Scott Lapp directs with panache, and though the sound mix was out of whack on opening night, the band is potent and buoyant. But the over-amped music made it hard to discern many of the lyrics, even in the intimate Horton Grand Theatre.
While the amiable show itself is unlikely to stay with you, the personal memories it evokes will linger long after.
©2017 PAT LAUNER, San Diego Theater Reviews