Henegar's 'First Date' a relatable, musical romantic comedy

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Henegar's 'First Date' a relatable, musical romantic comedy
© Getty Images/iStockphoto Will it be a love match or a total disaster? The Henegar Center’s musical “First Date” offers a relatable look at the awkwardness of blind dates. The show is on stage through Feb. 20, 2022. Visit henegarcenter.com.

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Lucky is the person without horror stories of blind dates.

It is a subject matter so rife with both comedic and dramatic fodder that it is surprising that a musical about dating vicissitudes did not appear until 2013. That’s when playwright Austin Winsberg’s “First Date” burst on the Broadway scene. Alan Zachary and Michael Winer wrote the music and lyrics for the show, based around the concept of a blind date gone awry, then working out, then gone awry, and so on.

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“First Date” arrives at Henegar Center’s Black Box Theatre just in time for Valentine’s Day. It was supposed to run only one weekend, but the audience would not be denied.

“It was sold out before we even cast it,” said Dominic Del Brocco, the Henegar’s executive artistic director. “We worked it out to add a second weekend.”

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The small cast and intimate quality of the set, not to mention the R-rating, makes “First Date” a not-your-grandmother’s Henegar production. 

“It’s quite different than the large main stage, over-the-top, big frills productions we typically are known for,” said Del Brocco.

The plot revolves around two New Yorkers, quirky Aaron and artsy Casey. These two very different people are set up on a blind date by Casey’s sister in a last-ditch effort to steer her sibling to a nice guy rather than the bad boys to whom she is usually drawn.

Aaron is still somewhat stuck in his last failed relationship, and Casey initially resists Aaron’s nice-guy charms. In the minds of the two leads, friends, families and lovers intrude as the date evolves and devolves.

Spoiler alert: this initially disastrous blind date ends far from disastrously, but only after a series of great songs illustrate in music the see-saw emotions the couple experiences.

The cast may number only seven, but Melinda Benya and Justin Scarlat as the two first daters, together with the support of Rich Klentich, Claudia Fain, Michael Duncan, Madison Mintzer and Tom Ste. Marie, have talent to spare.

“This small cast delivers all the laughs and great vocals needed to pull off the show successfully,” said Del Brocco.

There is a serious possibility that all tickets will be gone when you read this, but you, like the characters in “First Date,” might luck out. There were still a few seats left for the 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Feb. 13, as well as some for the 8 p.m. show on Friday, Feb. 18, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20. All tickets are $29.

Eight lucky couples per performance can avail themselves of the VIP experience that includes champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, and the tickets, for a total fee of $100.

Purchase at henegar.org or by calling 321-723-8698.

Whether you’re interested in music, theater, festivals or other local entertainment, FLORIDA TODAY has got you covered. Support local journalism by subscribing at Special Offers – USAToday Network.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Henegar’s ‘First Date’ a relatable, musical romantic comedy

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