Go on a hilarious FIRST DATE with PRiMA Theatre

An interview with the FIRST DATE cast, and why you can’t miss this show.

Cover photo (Left to Right): FIRST DATE lead Courtney Daniels, FIRST DATE director Jeremy Scott Lapp, and FIRST DATE lead Joshua David Cavanaugh.

Remember an awkward first date you’ve had? Most of us want to forget—but if we try, we can recall every cringe-worthy, absurd, hilarious, uncomfortable, surprising, and ridiculous moment of that date. The fumbling words, the unnatural phrasing of sentences, laughing too much or not enough.

PRiMA Theatre is showcasing FIRST DATE—a modern comedy musical focused on the awkward first encounter between two maybe-someday-more-than-friend opportunists just in time for the Valentines season. The show, running from Friday, February 9 – Saturday, February 24 on select dates, invites you to observe all of the emotions surrounding the first date of two characters, infused with hilarious situations and a kaleidoscope of musical genres.

One thing is for sure: you won’t leave this first date unsatisfied.

I had the opportunity to sit down, chat, discuss, and—most importantly—laugh with the director and members of the cast.

If the show is anything like my discussion with Jeremy Scott Lapp (Director of First Date at PRiMA), Courtney Daniels (playing Casey, one half of the first date couple),  and Joshua David Cavanaugh (playing Aaron, the other half of the first date couple), then it’s going to be quite the hysterical ride. (Check out the impressive detailed bios of the talented cast and director here!)

Before the interview, here are the details you need to know:

  • Where is the performance: Triode Media Group Cinema Stage. (Check out the teaser video here!)
  • Seating: The set-up will be fascinating. Unlike normal theatres (or “proscenium”—used to describe the part of a theater stage in front of the curtain, I learned) this show will take place in the middle of the audience. It will be round with seating right at the bar along with the cast on an awkward first date together. There are three options for seating— premium seating that includes high bar tables in the set area of the show, standard seating (which is also very close to the action), and economy seating. Get tickets now! 
  • When: Friday, February 9 – Saturday, February 24. Doors open at 6:30pm—and be sure to come early to get drinks and snacks directly from the bar that’s part of the set!
  • Tickets: Get them soon—this is a show you don’t want to miss. There are three options of tickets at different prices, like mentioned above. Visit here for tickets.
  • Show: 90 minutes of hilarious laugh-out-loud musical comedy about two individuals on a very awkward first date. Parental discretion is advised. Nobody under 13 will be let in the theatre without a parent with them. 

Now that you have a snapshot of the details, here’s your a Q&A with Jeremy, Courtney, and Joshua about First Date! Let’s jump in.  

Fig: This concept already sounds hysterical. Tell us a little more about the show and what attendees can expect.

Josh (Aaron in the show): It’s literally tracking a blind date for the entirety of the show—from the awkward first meeting, to awkward drinks, to awkward dinner. Everything you think that could go wrong on a first date definitely goes wrong.

Courtney (Casey in the show): It’s like two polar opposites trying to make it work!

Jeremy (Director of the show): There are times where the couple is in the middle of a conversation and their inner voices pop up. The audience gets to see the fun things that happen when they get a peek at the voices inside their heads.

Josh: When that happens one of us will freeze in time, while the other person is dealing with this inner monologue.

Jeremy: There are a lot of relatable aspects to it. We’ve all had those inner thoughts run through our minds during a situation like this!

Fig: Courtney and Josh—as part of the cast, what is it about this show that you find the most compelling?

Josh: I especially love the conversational style of dialogue that the characters have. It’s not perfectly written since it’s supposed to be so conversational, and that’s the challenging part!

Courtney: Like memorizing ‘ums’ as part of the script (laughs). I think what I’ve especially enjoyed most is the style that it’s written in. This is so open and conversational that every time you read through the script you could actually play those characters differently.

Josh: Yeah, there are character flaws we have to employ, but everything in between we can do whatever we want and have the freedom to so do. 

Courtney: There is so much freedom to put yourself into the character instead of trying to ‘be’ a certain specific person or type. The way it is written makes it easy to be, emotionally, whatever you want it to be!

Fig: The concept of the show has to be one of the most relatable situations. Awkward, hilarious first dates—I am sure most people in the audience will be able to recall a similar situation.

Courtney: It’s such a relatable realistic scenario. Obviously some things are exaggerated, but there is a lot of real emotion and real dating scenarios that you can definitely pull to help portray it in the show.

Jeremy: I think we’ve all been on good dates and bad dates (laughs). And we all know that feeling. We’ve all got advice from friends, past lovers, so, you know, there is something there for everyone to relate to.

Josh: The dramatics of it are so fun! Because everything does go wrong there are moments where we, as characters, have to find the redeeming quality. It hits all the extremes without breaking the date.

Courtney: It plays with the hopefulness of the date in a funny way.

Fig: There is some fun discussion around how this show is different than typical theatrical experiences. It sounds like the setting of the stage (or lack thereof!) will be a unique, and engaging, aspect.

Jeremy: Yes, the biggest difference is how the production is presented. In San Diego, where I directed the show before, the audience was separated—in a typical theatre atmosphere. Here, there are tables literally on stage with the cast.

Courtney: Shoulder-to-shoulder close with the cast!

Josh: We have even changed the blocking knowing that the audience is sitting so close!

Jeremy: The bar on set will be open before the show, and then the audience can stay there and enjoy the funny production from there.

Courtney: They can definitely feel more connected—it breaks the fourth wall completely.

Josh: There are also riser platforms where audience members can sit and have this inside view of the show. Normally, an audience is clearly sitting in the seating section of a theatre. But with this, they are here at the bar and on the sidelines.

Courtney: It’s a great challenge as an actor or actress—knowing there are people behind you, in front of you, everywhere! No matter what way you are facing, you are facing someone.

Jeremy: It allows the show to feel more natural since everyone isn’t facing one direction—it flows differently.

Fig: It sounds like it’ll be a completely unique, immersive experience—we can’t wait! And of course, we’re also excited about the music. What can we expect?

Jeremy: The music depends on the characters that pop up and the scenarios that are going on. It’s cohesive but varied. We meet a grandmother who is Jewish, so there is a song with that cultural flair. Then we jump to the future and meet Josh’s character’s son who is a rapper.

Josh: There is a kind of techno background to one of the songs too. The numbers between Courtney and I have a contemporary feel to them.

Jeremy: The music is accessible and easy to listen and relate to. We also have a small live rock combo that plays pretty much everything. And because this production is a little different than other First Date shows, the ensemble has a lot to sing.

Josh: They are insane!

Courtney: Absolutely insane. I just have to sit there and smile and make a joke every now and then, but the ensemble—they run around like chickens and so much more. (laughs)

Josh: It’s true. Occasionally we get moved around in the group, but for the most part we don’t sing during them. (laughs)

Courtney: I’m also thankful there are live musicians. I am very grateful for that as a performer—as a performer you always want live musicians.

Fig: This FIRST DATE show is sounding like a pretty good date night to us! Anything else you’d like to add about the show for our readers?

Jeremy: I think there are moments throughout the show that can be for everybody.

Josh: I agree! I hope people laugh… (laughs)

Courtney: I am very excited to see what the audience will be like and how they react.

Josh: The five of us doing the show are such different people. It will be fun to see the audience react to each one.

Courtney: Especially the ensemble—they are like chameleons. Turning into different people throughout the whole show.

Jeremy: It’s definitely going to be entertaining and enjoyable for the audience to watch the characters change.

Courtney: It’s very impressive to see them change characters to something completely different.

Josh: The one character goes from the Jewish grandmother, to the mother, to the ex girlfriend, to a sister—she is literally playing characters that span 25-95 years of age.

Jeremy: In eight or nine characters too!

Fig: Count us in. What is one word or phrase you’d like to leave us with that describes the show?

Jeremy: Hilarious. Naughty! (laughs)

Courtney: Very naughty… (laughs)

Jeremy: It’s definitely a PG13 show. Adult situations, innuendos.

Courtney: Also the show is just fun. In every aspect. To watch, to be in, to see.

Josh: I would say it’s relatable. Very relatable. 

Courtney: There are cringe moments, good moments.

Jeremy: It spans the gamut of emotions throughout the night!

Josh: The date really goes in all different directions.

Courtney: The set really is amazing too. Real food, real drinks… there are challenges of making it look effortless and natural in a setting like that. It’s very fun.

Jeremy: This show is really something you need to experience for yourself!

Don’t miss FIRST DATE by PRiMA at Triode Media Group Cinema Stage Friday, February 9 – Saturday, February 24!

Explore the bios of each cast member, including the ensemble’s Rori Nogee, Mikey LoBalsamo, and Duane Hespell, online at PrimaTheatre.org.

Bring on the humor, bring on the awkwardness—this is one first date I’m happily attending. Get tickets now!

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