PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Two-Show Day at Broadway's First Date With Bryce Ryness
Ryness' theatre work includes Hair, (Drama Desk nom.), Leap of Faith, Legally Blonde, Around the World in 80 Days, See Rock City, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Floyd Collins and Cabaret. His band's album "RYNESS" is available on iTunes.
"Smash" and The Addams Family actress Krysta Rodriguez is set up with "Chuck" star Zachary Levi on a First Date in the new Broadway musical comedy that officially opened Aug. 8 at the Longacre Theatre.
The work, which received a Seattle premiere co-produced by A.C.T. and the 5th Avenue Theatre, features a book by Austin Winsberg ("Gossip Girl"), with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (Secondhand Lions, Twice Charmed), who began writing songs together in high school. Bill Berry (producing director of The 5th Avenue Theatre), who helmed the world premiere, directs the Broadway production, and Josh Rhodes (Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella) provides musical staging. Broadway previews began July 9.
The cast includes Levi (Broadway debut, TV's "Chuck," Disney's "Tangled," upcoming "Thor: The Dark World"), Rodriguez ("Smash," The Addams Family), Sara Chase ("Arrested Development," The Toxic Avenger), Kristoffer Cusick (Wicked, Rent), Blake Hammond (Sister Act, Billy Elliot), Kate Loprest ("Boardwalk Empire," Hairspray), Vicki Noon (Wicked, Mamma Mia!), Bryce Ryness (Hair, Leap of Faith, Legally Blonde), Eric Ankrim (Broadway debut), Kevin Kern (Wicked, The Wedding Singer, Les Miz) and Sydney Shepherd (Broadway debut).
Here's how the new Broadway musical is billed: "When tightly wound Aaron (Levi) is set up with serial-dater Casey (Rodriguez) a quick drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious, high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this date as Casey and Aaron's inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons and the wait staff get into the act. Dinner is served with sides of Google background checks, fake emergency phone calls, supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines. First Date is Broadway's new hysterical and hopeful new musical about the chances we take to find love."
The creative team includes scenic designer David Gallo, costume designer David C. Woolard, lighting designer Mike Baldassari, sound designer Kai Harada and hair designer Josh Marquette. Musical supervision, vocal and incidental arrangements are by Dominick Amendum, and August Eriksmoen orchestrates.
Tickets can be purchased at Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.
First Date is produced by Junkyard Dog Productions (Randy Adams, Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Sue Frost) in association with Stem Productions, Altar Identity Studios, Alex and Katya Lukianov, Susan W. and James C. Blair Family LP, Linda and Bill Potter, Yasuhiro Kawana, Vijay and Sita Vashee, Kevin and Lynn Foley, Jeff and Julie Goldstein, Edward and Mimi Kirsch, Frank and Denise Phillips, Stephen Reynolds and Paula Rosput Reynolds, Land Line Productions, Alhadeff Family Productions/Sheri and Les Biller, Pat Halloran/Laura Little Theatrical Productions, Tony Meola/Remmel T. Dickinson and John Yonover, and ShadowCatcher Entertainment/Tom and Connie Walsh.
The musical was originally co-produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre (David Armstrong, executive producer and artistic director; Bernadine Griffin, managing director, Bill Berry, producing director) and A Contemporary Theatre Seattle, WA (Kurt Beattie, artistic director, and Carlo Scandiuzzi, executive director).