Dinner, Movies and a Stroll in the Park? Broadway's First Date Cast Shares Favorite NYC Date Spots
By Michael Gioia
The new comedy First Date opens in the midst of the summer as the first musical of the 2013-14 Broadway season. With summer lovin' still in the air, the Broadway cast shares suggestions for ideal first dates in New York City.
The musical, starring Krysta Rodriguez and Zachary Levi as a couple who is set up on their first date, began performances July 9 at the Longacre Theatre.
Alongside Levi (Broadway debut) and Rodriguez ("Smash," The Addams Family) are 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).
The new musical, featuring a book by Austin Winsberg ("Gossip Girl"), with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (Secondhand Lions, Twice Charmed), officially opens on Broadway Aug. 8.
Playbill.com asked the cast of First Date, via email, to suggest their favorite spots for an ideal date in New York City. Check out their suggestions, and ask out your partner before summer 2013 comes to a close!
Krysta Rodriguez (Casey)
I love having experiences with someone special that takes advantage of the city and all it has to offer. Both Bryant Park and Gantry Park show movies outside on the grass, so you can watch and picnic while the sun sets. So fun! The Frying Pan is a great place to get drinks and snacks. It's an old ship that's now docked at Pier 66 that you can eat on and explore. I think the best dates are when you plan a few things and then leave time to see where the night takes you!
Zachary Levi (Aaron)
My ideal first date in NYC would involve a Broadway show, some dinner and some gelato. But not in that order. But not, not in that order.
Sara Chase (Grandma Ida/Lauren/Aaron's Mother)
I highly recommend seeing a classic movie at the beautiful Ziegfeld Theatre. A guy once took me to see "Singin' in the Rain," and it was the most charming, memorable romantic evening. Plus it's air conditioned!
Kristoffer Cusick (Reggie/Aaron's Future Son/Edgy Rocker Guy)
A perfect first date in NYC, for me, would be a Sunday Date Day! We would meet up and grab brunch at Tipsy Parson [156 9th Ave] and then head up to Verde Square at the 72nd Street 1,2,3 station to watch one of the free concerts that they have around 1 PM on Sundays. After listening to some music for an hour or so, we would wander down to Soho and walk around the shops and then grab a cappuccino and avocado toast from Cafe Gitane on Mott Street. After relaxing for awhile, people watching and enjoying our time there, we would head for a few cocktails at the Top of the Standard at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. For dinner, we would head to my favorite Italian restaurant in the West Village, dell'anima for some prosecco and the bucatini all'arrabbiata. An amazing Sunday and an amazing first date!
Blake Hammond (Waiter/Casey's Father/ Blaze/Friendly Therapist)
For my first date in NYC, I would definitely go to a place that I find comfortable and relaxed. My favorite restaurant is Maria's Mont Blanc on 48th. Great food and big martinis. And, I know this sounds cheesy, but if this first date went well, then I can think of nothing I like more than riding around the Circle Line Hudson tours. Being out on the water [and] having a drink under the Brooklyn Bridge can be magical on the right night in NYC. Ah, romance!
Kate Loprest (Allison/Google Girl/Reggie's Mom)
I love exploring new areas of the city, and I feel like the Financial District is really underrated. I lived there a few years ago and have very fond memories of it. So, knowing that about me, I'd say the perfect summer date would be a sunset stroll through Battery Park overlooking the Statue of Liberty and then dinner and drinks on Stone Street: Adrienne's Pizza Bar and Ulysses. Cap it all off with a walk up to City Hall Park to see the fountain and bask in the glow of the gas lanterns. Seriously, you're welcome!
Bryce Ryness (Gabe/Edgy British Guy/Gilberto)
If I was in the dating world (read: if [my wife] Meredith and I could go on an awesome date and money and babysitters were not an issue), I would start the day early — 8 AM — and do breakfast on the Upper West Side. Maybe Sarabeth's or Toast. Then, we'd get scooped up in a town car (money's no object, right?) and head down for a nice walk along the Highline. Then, sally forth across the West Side Highway, climb on a helicopter and head out to Montauk for a lobster roll lunch. Next, board a sailboat for a sunset cruise back to the city. The town car picks us up at the dock and takes us to Beacon for dinner. Then home... and promptly fall dead asleep for 10 hours with no interruption... (Is it obvious that we have small children?)
Eric Ankrim (Standby)
I would love anyone who's interested to come hang out with me [when I'm going on for Zachary Levi]. I will be posted up at the Longacre Theatre, just getting my swag on as aggressively as I can as a white, 32-year-old man, and maybe we could kick it from like 8 PM to 9:30 PM or something...? I'll be there. And I promise to be dressed well. Psst... I don't want to be too forward (being a married father of three), but word on the street is that 60% of the time, I kiss on the first date every time. #sexpanther
Kevin Kern (Standby)
My ideal first date would be to go out with anyone other than my wife. Kidding! But seriously, folks, just hang out down in the Village. Go to Mamoun's falafel or the Corner Bistro, and then go get a pint at The Kettle of Fish. Keep it simple.
Vicki Noon (Standby)
My perfect New York City date would have to involve Central Park in some capacity. The old cliché of a picnic in the grass works on me everytime! A baguette and a bottle of wine wouldn't hurt either!
Sydney Shepherd (Standby)
As a new New Yorker, I can't say I know all the hotspots, but I do think that a picnic on the Highline or in Central Park (somewhere nature-y) with a bottle of wine would be pretty terrific. Then, as the sun was setting, we'd take the water taxi to Red Hook and see a folk or jazz band perform at a small intimate music venue.
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