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First Date

a Musical Comedy
by Austin Winsberg (book) and Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (songs)

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 5280

SHOWING : May 18, 2018 - June 03, 2018



When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. Other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes, and protective parents, who sing and dance the couple through ice-breakers, appetizers and some seriously saucy chemistry. Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives?

Director Liane Lemaster
Man 3 Jeffery Brown
Aaron Eric Lang
Woman 2 Jamie Lynn Perniciaro
Man 1 Keenan Rogers
Woman 1 Lauren Rosenzweig
Casey Suzanne Stroup
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Loud and Brash
by playgoer
Sunday, May 27, 2018
For Onstage Atlanta’s production of "First Date," Will Brooks has designed a clever little set that consists of four rotating panels and a rotating bar unit. To start (and end) with, the panels show a nighttime cityscape and the bar unit shows a Brooklyn subway sign. When they’re rotated, we’re brought into a bar with blackboard signs above and wood wainscoting below that matches the piano enclosure up stage right. Tables and chairs are moved on smoothly for the bar set, in which most of the action takes place, and panels are rotated as part of Lauren Rosenzweig’s cheery, inventive choreography.

Liane LeMaster has directed the show to keep the movement lively and the performances broad and entertaining. Excellent sightlines in the 7 Stages black box theatre help visibility, even when action occurs briefly on the floor. The visual aspects of the show are enhanced by Tom Priester’s lighting, A. Julian Verner’s edible/drinkable props, and Melissa Gouinlock’s accessories-driven costumes.

In terms of sound, everything is audible. Too audible, in fact. Music director Kathy Buraczynski seems to have encouraged the actors to blast out the music near the top of their lungs. Vocal beauty is sacrificed to vocal volume. In the ensemble, the powerful voices of Jeffery Brown, Michael Pugh, and Jamie Perniciaro sometimes overwhelm the softer, sweeter voices of Lauren Rosenzweig and Keenan Rogers. Eric Lang, as the man on a blind date, has some nice vocal moments in his big act two tour-de-force number, but Suzanne Stroup, as his blind date, tends to blast away in her numbers. Voices are good, but the over-emphasis on volume becomes a bit grating.

In terms of acting, the style also tends to be a bit over-emphatic, but performances are all good. The chemistry between Mr. Lang and Ms. Stroup makes the central story come to life, and the ensemble all have multiple moments to shine as various characters. Ms. Rosenzweig in particular does a wonderful job in creating in-character reactions that add to moments in the script without drawing attention in a "look at me!" manner.

"First Date" tells the story of a blind date’s up and downs, sparked by interruptions from a flamboyant waiter (Mr. Brown) and a flamboyant bailout call friend (Mr. Pugh), imagined advice from the girl’s happily-married sister (Ms. Rosenzweig) and the boy’s playa friend (Mr. Rogers), and memories of the boy’s last love (Ms. Perniciaro). It’s glib and entertaining, with just enough heart to provide a satisfyingly happy ending. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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