FIRST DATE Comes To Stage West
"I really love going on blind dates," said no one, ever. How does anyone work through all the expectations and baggage to form a real connection? That's the question at the heart of the funny and charming musical First Date, Book by Austin Winsberg, Music and Lyrics by Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner. This absolute crowd-pleaser begins a 5-week run at Stage West, in a co-production with Theatre TCU, on Thursday, September 12.
Tightly wound Aaron has been set up on a date with the far more laid-back Casey. Despite some misgivings, they decide to move from the meet-up to having dinner. And that's where the fun really begins. The restaurant patrons morph into the couple's inner critics - supportive best friends, manipulative exes, protective parents, and others - and they proceed to bombard the pair with conflicting advice, singing and dancing them through drinks, appetizers, and various conversational land mines. It's a hilariously awkward evening which pretty much anyone can relate to, as these two romance-seekers try to turn a potential dating disaster into something special - and all before the check arrives.
Austin Winsberg is the book writer of the Broadway musical First Date. Austin is primarily a writer/producer for film and television. He recently adapted the live The Sound of Music television event, starring Carrie Underwood, for NBC. His other television credits include Gossip Girl, Jake in Progress (Creator/Executive Producer - youngest showrunner in ABC history), Wedding Album, Still Standing and Glory Days. Winsberg has written numerous television pilots for ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Showtime and ABC Family. He has also written movies for New Line, Dreamworks Animation and Warner Bros. Winsberg graduated with a Theater Arts degree from Brown University. He continues to work in theater, directing and mentoring plays for the Blank Theater Company's Annual Young Playwright's Festival in Los Angeles.
Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner wrote the score for the Broadway musical First Date, which played on Broadway and has subsequently had over a hundred productions around the world. They are currently writing The Real Fairy Godmother, a new comedy TV series for ABC, starring Kristin Chenoweth. Recently, the duo penned all the songs for the critically acclaimed musical episode of ABC's fantasy series Once Upon A Time. Upcoming stage musicals include: 17 Again and 13 Going On 30. The team also wrote music and lyrics for a stage musical adaptation of the film Secondhand Lions (book: Rupert Holmes / producer: Warner Brothers). Zachary & Weiner had the honor of writing the script and songs for the hottest musical act in the world of Harry Potter, Celestina Warbeck & The Banshees, based on a character created by J.K. Rowling - currently playing at Universal Studios Orlando. The writing team has developed pilots, movies and songs for ABC, FOX, Disney Channel, VH1, Nickelodeon and Amazon Studios. Zachary & Weiner are recipients of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, presented by Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz.
First Date will be directed by TCU Theatre Chair Harry Parker, who last directed at Stage West on An Act of God. TCU's Alan Shorter, who served as Musical Director for Stage West's 1981 production of Company, will handle the musical direction. The cast features Seth Womack, most recently seen as Jamie in The Last Five Years at WaterTower Theatre as Aaron, and Amber Marie Flores, recently seen as Sara Stewart Ellis in The Ballad of Little Jo at WaterTower Theatre. Randy Pearlman, just seen as Judge Turpin in Circle Theatre's Sweeney Todd, will play Casey's father and several other roles, and Brett Warner, seen as Sara in Murder Ballad for Imprint Theatreworks, will also play multiple roles, including Aaron's mother. The cast also includes TCU actors Collins Rush, seen as Doody in Grease at Maine State Music Theatre, Mary Burchill, who recently played Margaret White in Carrie The Musical at Casa Manana, and Lance Jewett, seen as Davey in Newsies at Starlight Mountain Theatre. All three will appear in multiple roles.
Set design is by Michelle Harvey, with lighting design by Amanda West, costume design by Aaron Patrick DeClerk, sound design by Mark Howard, movement choreography by Penny Ayn Maas, and props and set décor by Lynn Lovett.
First Date will preview Thursday, September 12 at 7:30 and Friday, September 13 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, October 13. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. Ticket prices range from $38 to $45, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are advised). Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.
Members of the media may attend Saturday, September 14, or any performance thereafter.