Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, I did not actually go out on a date with Zachary Levi on Sunday. I did, however, see his musical, First Date, on Broadway and got the chance to visit with him briefly afterward.
On my way back up to New England after visiting family in Pennsylvania for the holidays, I took a bit of a side trip into Manhattan with a mission – I was finally going to see First Date. Now, typically I’m pretty good at planning things in advance, but this little side trip didn’t really come together until days before. I’d been wanting to see the show for months, but the fall had slipped away from me and with the show closing on January 5th, my time was running out quickly.
I hadn’t bought a ticket ahead of time and I’d underestimated both the number of people that would be in the city for the holiday, and the weather. The fates smiled on me, though, even though the sun most certainly didn’t!
I managed to buy a ticket for the matinee showing at the discount ticket booth in Times Square after waiting in a torrential downpour. My umbrella proved nearly useless and my jeans were plastered to my legs, but I had my ticket in hand! An hour later, I was settling my soaked self into a comfy seat in the back of the orchestra section.
For those who haven’t heard much about the show and haven’t seen it themselves, the premise is that the whole show takes place during one blind date. Zac plays Aaron, a sweet, sensitive, adorkable guy…basically himself/Chuck Bartowski, if either were Jewish, Ivy-league educated and working in the finance world. His date is Casey, an “edgy” serial dater played by Krysta Rodriguez (Smash). Aaron is a “blind date virgin” and Casey’s been there, done that. The two of them meet at a restaurant and we watch their date unfold with commentary (largely in their heads) from his best friend, her sister, and a Greek chorus of friends, relatives and exes.
It basically plays like “what not to do on a first date” and is quite funny and relatable to 20 and 30-somethings who’ve experienced the awkwardness that modern dating, particularly blind dating, can bring. Many of the typical dating pitfalls are covered – the “friend zone”, to Google or not to Google, drinks versus dinner, etc – in an entertaining, sometimes crass way.
After the show, I hung around outside the stage door (still raining!) for about a half hour getting to know a bunch of other Chucksters, waiting for Zac to come out. He looked out, saw the crowd standing in the rain, smiled, and went back in to grab his coat. When he came out, he was his typical friendly, generous self. He signed everyone’s Playbills and someone’s Flynn Ryder doll and made small talk with the group.
Although Zac was under the theater canopy, it was still cold and very damp, but he didn’t seem to notice. Once everyone had an autograph, he started a line for pictures, assuring everyone waiting that they would get a turn for a picture. The security guard seemed like he wasn’t happy with the situation, but Zac shrugged him off and took charge, moving around some barriers and telling everyone where to get in line and where to stand to take the best pictures. He even took a selfie for a guy who was having trouble with his phone camera.
I ended up close to the front of the line and I was once again impressed by what a genuinely nice guy Zac is. He thanked us all for coming and made sure that we all felt special. He smiled, he smoldered, and he put his arm around every soggy visitor for a picture as if we were close friends.
I enjoyed the show and welcomed the chance to meet Zac again and talk with him briefly. Even the three hour drive home through the dark and rain couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I encourage anyone who might be near NYC this weekend to catch the show before it closes on Sunday afternoon. Can’t make it this weekend? You can grab a copy of the soundtrack on Google Play and iTunes, turn it up loud, and pretend you’re there.
And Zac… if you happen to read this, I’m happy to chat about Quantum Leap and share blind date nightmares over drinks anytime!