Curtain Call: Take your date to 'First Date'

Seven Angels Theatre, Waterbury: Wondering where to take your date? Surprise her or him and get tickets to “First Date” at Seven Angels. It’s perfect for those in their 20s and 30s because it reflects that generation. Crisp, clean, and wonderfully young and fresh, this show is meant to bring in the Internet daters, and the Google researchers who check out their dates before they meet them. It’s also delightfully entertaining for the older set. After all, who doesn’t remember a first blind date? See how first dates have changed — or have they?
When Austin Winsberg’s smart little musical starts, two singles come together at the suggestion of friends and family who think these two are a perfect match. Aaron is nervous about meeting Casey. He’s a well-educated, executive type guy who hasn’t been dating much. Casey is a hot chick with enough bad dates behind her that she calls herself a serial-dater. They agree to meet at a popular New York restaurant and that’s when the fun begins.
Checking each other out gets complicated and hilarious as their inner critics materialize and give them advice to advance the moment. Meanwhile, the patrons in the restaurant take on additional supporting roles urging Aaron and Casey to get beyond the awkward moments and to make real connections. The truth of the matter is that these two really don’t have much in common. Will that send them on their separate ways or will opposites attract? There’s no spoiler here. You’ll have to discover it for yourself.
This is not a great big traditional musical. It’s a sweet little show, perfect for spring fever that offers a really good night out. Christina Carlucci plays Casey and she is perfect for the role of a good girl hooked on bad boys. Aaron, a successful investment banker, is not her style. Carlucci’s portrayal of Casey is so good that you completely forget she is acting. That’s also the case for Constantine Pappas who plays Aaron. The two professional actors play off each other convincingly.
The two leads quickly endear themselves to the audience and just when you start wondering what the rest of the ensemble is going to do, they come to life most vividly. Anna Laura Strider, Miss Alabama 2012, is not only a knockout but she has a great voice and she plays Casey’s sister with refreshing honesty. Carly Valancy is a terrific dancer and plays the ultra sophisticate with aplomb.
Ethan Kirschbaum plays a variety of roles including a bad boy, but is most memorable as “Bail Out,” Casey’s friend who phones her in case she needs to get out of the date fast. Kirschbaum is her back out plan. Niko Touros also plays multiple roles with an especially fine performance as Aaron’s co-worker.
There is one other character in this ensemble. James Donohue who plays an extremely talented singing waiter. If his performance lasted one second longer, he would have stolen the show. Donohue is superior talent personified.
Everything about this tightly melded production, directed by Sasha Bratt with music director Brent C. Mauldin, works like a charm. It’s great to see Emily Nichols’ upbeat and upscale New York City restaurant set complete with a raised cocktail bar and stylish slated windows. Christina Watanabe’s excellent lighting design adds color that relates to the emotions being portrayed on stage. Lisa Beby’s costumes are character appropriate and the musicians are terrific.
As for a good date night, forget the bar scene, television, or a movie. Head to Seven Angels and you will have a blast. Please note some language may be offensive. The show plays through April 7. Box office: 203-757-4676.
Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: