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  First Date at Royal George Theatre

First Date

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

When blind date newbie Aaron (Charlie Lubeck, The Glee Project, Season 2) is set up with serial-dater Casey (Dana Parker), a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds that they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron's inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines. Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives?

Thru - May 17, 2015

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:00pm & 9:30pm
Saturdays: 5:30pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $15-$59

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 1hr, 35mins

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  First Date Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...This production does at least feature exceptionally classy production values - the restaurant setting inside the Royal George Cabaret is quite beautifully imagined by designer Thad Hallstein as an intimate, small-plates spot, full of books and faux-domestic styling. There's a decent live band playing the serviceable music composed by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. The ambience is of a stylish date night. There are a few amusing observations about how social media have changed the deadly sport of dating and rendered it akin to the terrifying culmination of a research project. Cast members, mostly very young, are clearly nice people. You get the picture. But the bar is high for sketch comedy in this town."
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Chirs Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Religion, money, past relationships, sexual chemistry, psychological mooring ó they are all touched on here. And while there is nothing new or profound about any of it, under the zesty direction of J.R. Rose, the eight gifted actors perfectly nail their characters as well as the music and comedy. They are backed by Elizabeth Doranís fine musical direction (with a band featuring Cesar Romero, Michael Sinclair, Tony Scandora and Adam DeGroot), Becky DeDeckerís choreography and Thad Hallsteinís clever set."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...This has all the earmarks of a standard-issue date-night show: upbeat material, likable tunes, unchallenging themes, contemporary stock characters (the repressed guy, the high-maintenance girl, her gay BFF). Nothing here to scare guys who hate musicals (and call intermission "halftime") or the women who date them. But remarkably, Austin Winsberg (book) and Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (music and lyrics) have created an entertaining, emotionally satisfying show that never panders or condescends."
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Jack Helbig

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...J.R. Rose's staging is handsome, and populated by an extremely charming cast, and the songs by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner are pleasant enough. But I'm left with the question of who this odd little romcom is aimed toward. It's far too much pressure for couples on an actual first date, but exposes too many raw nerves for more established pairings. It's hard to see First Date inspiring many seconds."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Charlie Lubeck and Dana Parker are perfectly cast as Aaron and Casey. An entirely believable and incredibly attractive couple, their chemistry and charisma easily sustain the drama, hold our attention, and capture our hearts. Of the five supporting cast members that each play numerous characters, Adam Fane steals the spotlight every time. Especially as Bestie Reggie, who calls Casey throughout the night, at first to give her an out if she needs to ditch her date, Fane boasts abundant energy, humor and sass. Considering the cramped quarters of the Royal George's cabaret stage, director J.R. Rose has assembled a fine, fun-filled production."
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Barnaby Hughes

Splash Magazine - Not Recommended

"...First Date was awful in almost every conceivable way. To say the writing is garbage would be giving it too much credit. Itís horrendous. On top of the terrible script this particular production was so shoddily mishandled by some lazy contrived ďcampyĒ directorial judgments, dreadful production design choices, and perplexing casting decisions that I must admit that a good majority of First Date was just downright unbearable to sit through."
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Justin LeClaire

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...First Date could be saved for its target audience by the sheer efforts of the fine cast. Charlie Lubeck's nice guy is workable with Lubeck's singing and his sincere acting. Adam Fane and John Keating, as the two gay guys were funny as the comic relief characters as the show strives for a gay audience to supplement show's appeal to women. With so many songs, First Date runs a long 95 minutes. First Date is a lightweight little pop musical that some will find cute and amusing. Don't expect the art and cleverness of Sondheim but the performers garner enough fun to make the show entertaining to its target audience."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...The show was coated in a dream/fantasy residue where Aaron and Casey dip into their respective self-consciences where they are given device via imaginary ex-girlfriends and overbearing sisters. There was a seamless integration of action with production and lighting design. The choreography in the small space was subdued in a slick and sharp way, echoing the calls of the cabaret theatre which it is intended for. Simply, a flat-out hysterical show that will make a great date any night of the week."

Ben Cherkasky

Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Well, due to the script, and some very able-bodied ensemble members, we do make it through the play as we watch the twists and turns that these two young people have had and are about to have. The other characters in the story are all played by the ensemble members. They are in the restaurant, at tables, as couples, but they are in fact the friends, relatives, exes and anybody who has been a part of the love lives of these two people,who by all means should have ended to date within the first few minutes."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Despite Parker's stellar turn in her role and Lubeck's admirable job in his, the characters' relationship isn't written well enough for us to care about whether or not they end up together, which should be the crux of this play. And so, the two leads are often overshadowed by the other characters on the stage. Adam Fane's appearance as Casey's sassy gay BFF, Reggie, is by far the most memorable part of the evening. His quirky performance and the fact that he owns the only song here that risks getting stuck in your head, allows him to essentially steal the show."
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Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...For audiences seeking a simple musical comedy that offers a few interesting comments about relationships, but provides an obligatory happy ending, this show would be a fine choice. Itís a pleasant, mindless entertainment that features amusing characters and has a peppy, pop score thatís a bit loud, but fun. Just donít expect an earthshaking exploration of the mating game in the 21st century. This is simply a musical sitcom, aimed at millennials, but without those annoying commercial breaks."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"..."First Date" fits snugly in the Royal George Cabaret, which provides the intimacy appropriate to the saga of two needy and attractive young people cautiously and hopefully seeking a final significant other. The vehicle should do well among the urban dating crowd who won't be as concerned with the predictability and emotional manipulation of this kind of show as older patrons more distant from today's dating scene. But the light comedy and chirpy and witty score should entertain patrons across the adult spectrum, and the cast is really loaded with young men and women delightful to hear and watch."

Dan Zeff

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