Romance to Take the Stage in Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati's Regional Premiere of FIRST DATE

By: Jan. 05, 2017
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Check please! Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opens the second half of the season with the hilarious and sassy musical First Date, by Austin Winsberg, with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. Playing January 17-February 5, 2017. Directed by Vince DeGeorge.

First impressions can make or break someone, but what will they mean when a blind-date rookie steps up to bat with an experienced dater? With a hit musical score and plenty of comic verve, First Date promises to be an unforgettable (and unpredictable) take on the dating-game.

When tightly wound Aaron is set up with cool girl Casey, a quick drink turns into a hilarious dinner served with sides of Google background checks, fake emergency phone calls, a slew of manipulative exes, potential conversational land mines, and some seriously saucy chemistry. Can this seemingly mismatched pair turn what could be a dining disaster into something special before the check arrives, or end up at another table for one?

"Most all of us have had to go one at least one first date. Maybe First Date will help us remember that you have to start somewhere," says ETC's Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. "It's not often that you find a show [like this] that is a joyous celebration of the potential for love. First Date is a fun, positive, and charming musical that is performed with a live band! What a great way to start off the New Year." Meyers goes on to add, "Ensemble has a dedication to developing local professionals and it turns out five of the cast members are former apprentices. It shows the maturation of the organization through the creation of work for people who gave a year of their time to be with us."

Performances run Tuesday through Sunday. Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday, 8:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 2:00 pm; and Sunday, 7:00 pm. A complete calendar of performances is available online at

Ticket prices range from $28 to $48 for adults; student tickets are $25; and children are $18. For the 2016-2017 Season, ETC continues its popular $15 student and half-price rush tickets for all performances, which are available two hours prior to show time and may be purchased by phone or in person at the box office. Military, Educator, ArtsWave ArtsPass, AAA, and Enjoy the Arts discounts available; tickets and seating are subject to availability.


Michael Gerard Carr (Aaron) returns to ETC, having last appeared as Casey in this season's production of The Legend of Georgia McBride. His past shows at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati include Hands on a Hardbody, Good People, and Snow White. A proud graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music Drama program and a past intern here at Ensemble Theatre, Mr. Carr also has taught freshman Drama at UC-CCM.

Sarah Hoch (Casey) makes her ETC debut with this production. A Massachusetts native and Drake University alumna, Ms. Hoch recently moved from Chicago to New York. Regional credits include Million Dollar Quartet and Grease, Old Creamery Theatre; Lost in Yonkers, Great Plains Theatre; Legally Blonde, Midtown Arts Center; and How To Succeed, Spring Awakening, Present Laughter, Avenue Q, Annie, and Xanadu, Playhouse on the Square. Chicago credits include Sweet Charity, Rocky Horror, and multiple roles in new musicals with Underscore Theatre.

Jared D. Doren (Man #3) is a local actor, director, and alumnus of the 1995-1996 ETC Professional Acting Apprenticeship Program. Past ETC credits include A Question of Mercy, Two Weeks with the Queen, and the holiday productions of Around the World in 80 Days, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, and The Frog Princess. Local directing credits include Chase the Dragon, Cincinnati LAB Theatre; Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, and Bus Stop, New Edgecliff Theatre; All New People, Untethered Theatre; Pump Boys and Dinettes, Carnegie Arts Center; Assassins, And Then There Were None, and The Elephant Man, Falcon Theatre.
Mr. Doren is also one of the founding members and artistic directors for Cincinnati LAB Theatre and currently serves as Patron Services Manager for ETC.

Maya Farhat (Woman #2) returns to the ETC stage after having recently appeared as Aristotle in Cinderella: After Ever After. She is a graduate of Xavier University with a B.A. in Theatre and a minor in Communication Studies. Ms. Farhat has done work around town, but her most recent credits include Other Bother, Cincy Fringe Festival 2016; and Rent, Betrayal, and Mockingbird, Falcon Theatre. She has also made her TV film debut in Maria Carey's Hallmark movie, A Christmas Melody, play Hayley Tillman. She is also featured in a global Internet ClearBlue advertisement.

Andrew Maloney (Man #2) was last seen at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati in last season's Violet. Other ETC credits include: Around the World in 80 Days, Alice in Wonderland, and Snow White. Internationally, Mr. Maloney appeared in the Ecuadorian premiere of West Side Story at the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. Recent credits include Rent, Assassins, The Little Mermaid, and A Chorus Line. He has been seen at many local theatres, including The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati, Falcon Theatre, and the Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre.

Jeremy Parker (Woman #1) returns to ETC after last being seen as an acting apprentice in the 2013-2014 season. Ms. Parker's recent performance highlights include Eve Ensler's one-act play Extraordinary Measures, Music Theatre Group of New York City; Master Class, Human Race Theatre Company; and Always...Patsy Cline and The Addams Family, Cortland Repertory Theatre. She can be seen in the role of Dorothy in the Academy Award-nominated film Carol, directed by Todd Haynes. She currently resides in Brooklyn and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music.

Nathan Robert Pecchia (Man #2) also makes his ETC debut with this production. A senior in Wright State University's Musical Theatre/Acting Program, Mr. Pecchia will graduate this spring. He appeared in many productions at WSU, most notably in The Music Man. Most recently, Mr. Pecchia was seen in the ensembles of Sweeney Todd and Legendale at The Human Race Theatre Company.

The production team includes Brian c. Mehring (Resident Scenic & Lighting Designer), Jack Murphy (Technical Director), Matthew Hollstegge (Production Manager & Master Electrician), Shannon Rae Lutz (Properties Master & Design Assistant), Jeremy Lee (Sound Designer), Scot Woolley (Musical Director), and Reba Senske (Costume Designer). Production Stage Manager is Brandon T. Holmes. Assistant Stage Manager is Elizabeth Freyman.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is a professional theatre dedicated to producing world and regional premieres of works that often explore compelling social issues. We fulfill our mission through our stage productions and educational outreach programs that enlighten, enliven, enrich and inspire our audiences.


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