SEQUIM — Whether happily married, looking for love or “it’s complicated,” you’re likely to find something relatable in “First Date.”
The latest musical from Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., brings together an unlikely pair for a blind date with Casey, played by Emma Jane Garcia, a chronic bad boy dater, and Aaron, played by Austin Krieg, a guy on his first blind date.
“First Date” runs Friday through May 12 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays.
A Preview Night is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Pay-What-You-Will on May 2, and a Talk-Back Night on May 9.
Tickets are $24 for the general public, $22 for OTA members and $12 for students with school identification card. Tickets available at the theater box office from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or online at www.OlympicTheatreArts.org.
Garcia, a first time actor on OTA’s main stage, said the musical comedy is easy for people to relate to the pair.
“All of the characters represent a part of the psyche of Casey and Aaron,” she said. “It’s something everyone can relate. ‘First Date’ is timeless. I think it’ll take you right back on a date or a situation where you felt a little awkward.”
Director Christy Holy, an OTA first time director, said “First Date” brings out the pair’s “worst fears about dating come to life.”
Their conversation spans religion, children and past relationships, and includes givens for first dates with awkward pauses, first impressions and small talk.
“It’s about all these obstacles you go through when you first meet someone,” Holy said.
She finds that in an online era, “we recognize we all are longing for a connection with a real person.”
“We can get distracted by expectations that can get in the way and the stereotypes we think of what we want in another person,” Holy said. “This show presents you can’t get what you want without digging within yourself.”
Steven Humphrey serves as musical director for the show that spans several genres and all aspects of dating. Krieg, a first-time OTA main stage actor too, said the music is definitely a draw for him.
“I listen to a lot of musicals that all sound similar, but this one goes into a lot of different genres,” he said. “We have one song that’s Simon and Garfunkel-esque and some emotional, powerful ballads. Blending all these emotions is a fun experience.”
Garcia said her favorite song doesn’t even involve her, but it’s a solo by Krieg called “In Love with You” where he weighs his feelings for his ex.
Holy likes “The World Wide Web Is Forever” about internet searches and “Safer” sung by Casey about letting go of her own hang-ups.
“Casey is a lot of fun,” Garcia said. “She’s so different from myself. She’s kind of sad, super guarded, super complex but she’s a reminder that with the people we come across, she’s hurting deeper down. It’s kind of exhausting [playing the character], but wonderful to break down.”
Holy agrees with Garcia’s sentiment that “First Date” is timeless.
“We need to be reminded of what love can do and we need it,” she said.
Along with Garcia and Krieg, Holy directs a “very talented cast” of Alison Cobb, Dan DePrez, Ryan Macedo, Victoria Miller and Greg Scherer.
“First Date” was written by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner.
For more information on Olympic Theatre Arts’ “First Date,” call 360-683-7326 or visit www.olympic theatrearts.org.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].