BWW Reviews: Original Cast Recording of FIRST DATE is Quirky, Charming, and Endearing
The cast recording from Yellow Sound Label boasts the stellar vocals of Zachary Levi (Chuck), Krysta Rodriguez (Smash), Bryce Ryness (HAIR, SEE ROCK CITY & OTHER DESTINATIONS), Kristoffer Cusick, Blake Hammond, Sara Chase, and Kate Loprest. The show's ensemble play the many restaurant goers, taking turns with playing the family and ex's who influence the way the date goes.
The show's score is just as hysterical and dynamic as its premise. With a dynamic ensemble and stellar leading duo, this cast recording is a must-listen. The tracks on the cast recording are lively, fun, and painfully catchy. Prepare to have most of these songs permanently stuck in your head.
The recording's opening song "The One" highlights our biggest fears and reservations about dating and relationships. It also exposes our unrealistic expectations to find "the one." The tune has a catchy rhythmic beat, and is a humorous back and forth between the men and women of the ensemble. The song describes dating as a bitch, a battlefield, and something you just cant win. Seems accurate.
"First Impression" is the first duet between Casey and Aaron and is easily the best song on the recording. The track is the perfect opening for the album as it sets the quirky atmosphere of the cast recording. The two characters summarize their first impressions of the other in this stellar song that incorporates hysterical one-liners and powerful vocals.
The recording's bailout songs sung by Kristoffer Cusick add epic comedy to this record. There are three of these songs on the recording, as Casey's best friend Reggie keeps providing her with an excuse to back out of the date - even when she doesn't want one.
Speaking of Casey, Krysta Rodriquez's voice is a force to be reckoned with on the album. This will come as little shock to those who have heard her on Smash as well as the cast recording of THE ADAMS FAMILY. As the female lead, her voice can be heard on most of the recording's tracks. She shows just how versatile her voice is as she belts out funny, sexy, and emotional tunes. While "First Impressions" has Rodriquez bringing the house down with her high notes, jaw dropping belts and comedic timing, "Safer" displays the singer's ability to own a ballad. The song has Casey baring her soul and explaining her need to put up a cold front. As Casey, Rodriquez will have you reflecting on her own approach to people and relationships. The song is Casey's first vulnerable moment on the record, and Rodriquez delivers the number with emotionality, innocence, and a vulnerability that will leave listeners awe struck as well covered in goosbumps.
While some of these songs will have you abusing the repeat button, some songs need the context of the show to shine. The number "A Girl Like You" is the byproduct of Casey telling Aaron that she is not Jewish. While the song is hysterical, without the visual aspect of it, the number is not done justice.
Levi can be heard on the Tangled soundtrack, but First Date is the actor's first ever cast recording. You would never be able to tell, given his voice's raw power, emotion, and how it shines on the recording. Levi wows in "First Impressions," but his vocal abilities are made clear in his solo "In Love With You." In the song, Levi's character, Aaron, sings about his ex-fiancée. He lets out his anger about her leaving him at the altar, and finally gets some closure with their break up. The song allows him to belt, try his hand at a rock-like sound, and bring on the sass. That's right, Zachary Levi can scat and bring some attitude to the stage. This track is both toe tapping and has an emotional bearing.
The original Broadway cast recording of First Date is energetic, fun, and is bound to make you laugh. It is easy to relate to the songs about the ups and downs of relationships, as well as knowing when to let someone go.
FIRST DATE (Original Broadway Cast Recording) was digitally released by Yellow Sound Label on September 24, 2013. Physical copies were released on October 15, 2013. It can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold.