Tuesday, October 18, 2022

“First Date”: OnStage’s Funny, Frenetic and Physically Demanding Musical, Is A Must See.


First dates, or as some might call them, blind dates may not be for everyone but in these times where theatre might be our only escape from the mishagas of the real world, it’s a winner; a diversion or better yet, an alternative from the news and with the possibly of finding your one and only. What’s to lose? (If only)


Don’t mistake. For Aaron (Benjamin Monts) it’s pretty real and quite traumatizing. Shy, at best. Nerdy, to say the least. And left standing under the Chuppah alone, he had lots of baggage to unfold before putting himself out there. As Mr. Everyman, most shy and unassuming can identify.


Benjamin Monts, Andrew Gutierrez, Kylie Young and Shelby Beltram



On the other hand, Casey (Kylie Young) is an old hand at first/blind dates and makes no bones about it. But that, it is.  She won’t commit. She’s more of a free agent; somewhat of a bohemian, hip and at first glance, quite the opposite of Aaron but likeable in her own way. 


But that’s not all there is to the Austin Winsberg (Book), Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner (Music & Lyrics) musical. If it was just the two, it would have been boy meets girl on first date, after a few drinks and an exchange of niceties and so long, it’s been nice to know you.


But the creators of “Blind Date” that premiered on Broadway in 2013 still resonates today with a super energetic cast of seven, five popping on the stage singing of all that could go wrong on a first date, somewhat like a Greek Chorus oft times family members, (past and present) and friends supporting each in their efforts, taking on a life of their own in real time.  


Enrique Arana and Andrew Gutierrez


When Aaron walks into the ‘Grub Spot’, their meeting place, it is pretty evident that he has been set up for a blind date. He’s nervous and looks uncomfortable. The local bartender (Enrique Arana, who plays several characters as do the rest) takes him under his wing and with a few changes turns his look from uptight to casual (tie off, untucked shirt and open collar). She on the other hand, has the confidence of one who’s been there before (“First Impression”).


Supporting cast along with Monts and Young (who stepped into the role following Adelaida Martinez departure) includes Sheby Beltran, Jaden Guerrero, Andrew Gutierrez, Enrique Arana and Emily Candia who are all excellent making director Kevin “Blax” Burroughs, whose timing is impeccable, job look easy.


Jaden Guerrero and Shelby Beltran


Both Monts and Young have this push me pull you thing going. Just when one seems settled, someone from their outside world comes and shows another revealing characteristic, like when Aaron reveals he is Jewish (“The Girl for You”) and Casey’s priest (Enrique Arana) makes an appearance, and Shelby Beltran the talented runaway bride. It does get complicated after a while but its so damn funny, even this a skeptic couldn’t help but lol.


Director Kevin “Blax” Burroughs is also credited as musical director, lighting designer and choreographer. Now that’s talent. Benjamin Goniea on keys is also Music Director. Roy Jenking is on Bass and Preston Lange is on drums. Costume design credits go to Brad Dubois, sound mixer. Remus Harrington and Set design, Reiko Huffman.


For some fun and, perhaps comparisons, “Blind Date” should be your cup o’ tea.



Dates: Through Nov. 6


Organization: OnStage Playhouse,


Phone: (619) 422-7787

Production Type: Musical Comedy

Where: 291 3rd Ave, Chula Vista 91910


Ticket Prices: Adult $25, Senior / Military / Educator $22, Student / Under30 $15


Web: www.onstageplayhouse.org


Photo: Daren Scott



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