(Photo courtesy of Garner Galleria Theatre)
By: Allison Upchurch, Staff Reporter
Musicals can answer a lot of questions about life, and at the Garner Galleria Theatre in downtown Denver, their production of the one-act musical First Date attempts to answer the question: how can I have a perfect first date that results in a “happy ever after”?
Set in a modern New York bar and restaurant, First Date follows the night that investment banker Aaron (played by Seth Dhonau) and photographer Casey (played by Adriane Leigh Robinson) met up when set up on a blind date by Casey’s brother in law. Throughout the night, both Casey and Aaron are working out their impressions of each other while also battling the psychological representations of their friends, family, and exes that try to both impede on the date and offer guidance.
The plot itself is one that reinforces the idea that our two main characters are destined to be together. It’s unknown to the characters but quickly worked out by the audience because of how Casey and Aaron assume that the other will balance out their personal flaws as a person. The expectation that these two will end up together affects how the audience can perceive this show as an accurate representation of a first date and what is expected to come from going on one.
One of the strengths of this production of First Date is its setting, both in the plot and for the audience at the Garner Galleria Theatre. The setting of the modern New York bar and
restaurant flows out into the audience as the theatre itself is relatively small, and is set up cabaret-style with tables, drink rails, and waiters who come in and out to serve drinks and snacks. This intimate setting enhances the experience of the show as if the audience is in the real world watching these two on a real date from afar.
Overall, First Date can still fit into one of the Jesuit values that Regis strives to incorporate into our education. The one that best reflects the theme of First Date is “Cura personalis”, or care for the whole person both inside and out. When the show takes a moment and the audience gets to know the characters, it’s revealed that Casey has taken the time to really get in touch with her own personal self, which eventually defines the way she wants to treat the people in her life. Aaron also had moments of self-acknowledgment where his concern for himself translates to concern for his future family in terms of a steady financial situation. Both characters make a good insight into “Cura personalis” because of the way in which knowing and caring for oneself is the key to allowing oneself to then care for others and grow stronger relationships.
First Date plays at the Garner Galleria Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts until April 22. Tickets and more information are available on the Denver Center website.