Scott Kruse and Nancy Seeman haven't burst into song during a dinner date. But thanks to Shot in the Dark’s production of “First Date,” the two can now cross that activity off their bucket list.
Kruse and Seeman, who date in real life, star as Aaron and Casey. Kruse’s character is a quirky individual with nerves like strands of wet paper while his artsy female counterpart is affectionately known as a “serial-dater.” They were set up on a blind date with the help of Casey’s sister. As the event transpires in real time, the insecurities and fears of both characters manifest into musical apparitions.
Kruse said that although the characters’ experiences in “First Date” do not match those of his relationship (and that’s probably a good thing), the musical still captures what goes through the minds of people during a typical date.
“It brings about those apprehensions and past experiences,” he said. “My character is constantly plagued by his ex who actually left him standing at the altar on their wedding day, and he has never really gotten over that. So she’s constantly ‘showing up’ and saying ‘No, Aaron. You love me. You should just wait for me.’”
While Kruse’s character may be hallucinating about his ex-girlfriend, his best friend Gabe steps in to let Aaron know he’s better off without her and should concentrate on his current date and move on.
Travis Metzger, who plays multiple characters in “First Date,” said the dating process itself is relevant to current standards, especially in regard to meeting people online or looking up a future date on Facebook.
“It’s a recent show and it’s very modern,” said Metzger. “It’s very poignant to the times and I enjoy that sort of thing. I think it really captures the ups and downs. Whatever can possibly go wrong will go wrong. It’s very much a Murphy’s Law sort of show.”
About two-thirds of the show takes place in the mind of its two main characters. Inside Aaron’s head, Kruse said, he’s mostly visited by his best friend (the voice of reason) and his ex (the voice of irrationality).Likewise, Casey is haunted by her sister and ex-boyfriends.
Metzger stars as one of Casey’s exes, as well as her father, her best friend and her therapist. The actor joined the cast two weeks before the first show April 28 at the Evelyn Larson Theatre.
“I think I spend about 30 minutes doing things in the show, so it’s not huge – but the cast has been great and helpful,” said Metzger. “I don’t think I’ve struggled too much. I definitely have been a little spotty on the memory but you can only do so much. It’s been a ride and I very much enjoyed it.”
What will audiences connect with in “First Date?” Cast member T.J. Springer said they’ll relate to “the whole aura” of the show.
“Whether it’s looking up someone online ... or who’s going to pay the check at the end of the meal,” said Springer. “There are so many different things that we go through. No matter what happens on a first date we can capture one of those ideas or experiences.”
Kruse said audiences will appreciate emotions that characters are feeling in “First Date.”
“Like the indecisiveness and being scared to put yourself out there,” said Kruse. “There are quite a few points they’ll be able to connect on.”
Seeman chimed in, “And we all have little voices in our heads no matter what situation we’re in. This just amplifies it. Makes it more real.”