REVIEW: Avon Players’ ‘First Date’ Makes the Right Impression

Adam Silorey as Aaron and Lori Smith as Casey in ‘First Date.’ Photo courtesy of Bryan Clifford

These days, dating – especially first dates – are akin to maneuvering through a minefield. There is constant second-guessing over where to meet, what to wear, and what topics are ‘safe’ to discuss. All while in the back of your mind, you’re wondering, “Will this finally be THE ONE that gets you off the dating merry-go-round? Avon Players’ presentation of the rom-com musical First Date hysterically addresses these questions and more during its run now, until Saturday, June 10 in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Adapted by Austin Winsberg with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, First Date centers around white-collar Wall Street Aaron (Adam Silorey in his Avon Players’ debut) and artsy free spirit Casey (Lori Smith). Set up on a blind date, they meet at a New York City restaurant, and from the beginning you can tell these two are mismatched (“First Impressions”). Armed with the emotional baggage of past relationships and personal hang-ups, Aaron and Casey launch into making the best of their situation.

Along for the ride are The Company: Emily Brown, Jonathan Farrell, Christiaan Lafata, Hosanna Phillips, and Adam Wager, who throughout the show, get a chance to show off their comedic range as various characters in Aaron and Casey’s lives. The laughs got rolling early on when Lafata assumed the role of Casey’s best friend Reggie, who calls to see if she needs to be saved from her date (“Bailout Song #1). We’ve all been there, and the audience ate his performance up. Another relatable moment is when the taboo topic of religion comes up and Aaron finds himself in a dream sequence where he is admonished by his Jewish grandma, threatened by Casey’s extreme Christian father, and horrified by his future son who hates him (“The Girl for You”). This is just another example of what makes First Date so relevant. We all have voices, inner critics, in our heads that are so loud sometimes we can’t hear our own thoughts and end up second-guessing ourselves and others.

From L to R: Hosanna Phillips, Adam Wager, Jonathan Farrell, Emily Brown, and Christiaan Lafata in Avon Players Theatre’s production of ‘First Date.’ Photo courtesy of the Avon Players’ Facebook page.

If you view this play in terms of food, the first act serves as a tantalizing appetizer, while the second act is the main meal the audience can sink its teeth into. There are generous portions of humor and multiple moments where the Company steals the show. I honestly don’t know how they kept a straight face for most of the numbers. By far, the performance that received the most rousing response of the evening was Jonathan Farrell’s turn as the lovelorn waiter during the song “I’d Order Love.” Farrell had the audience in stitches.

As the date progresses, the walls Aaron and Casey have built up over the years start to crack. Casey’s vulnerable moment comes during the song “Safer” where she sings about her issues and imperfections. For Aaron, it’s during the song “The Things I Never Said,” an acknowledgment of the things he wishes his mom had told him.

Everyone needs a Reggie (Christiaan Lafata).
Photo courtesy of Avon Players’ Facebook Page.

First Date is a show you could watch multiple times (which I recommend) and discover something new each time. Including a relationship twist, you won’t see coming. That’s how much depth this show and cast have. In the initial press release, Director Ryan Moore stated his excitement by the opportunity to direct a musical with such a small cast, “Everyone gets many great featured moments, and the work feels truly collaborative.” 

The packed opening-night audience featured a range of ages and there was hardly a moment where we weren’t laughing, which shows you that the language of first dates is universal. This amazing cast coupled with top-tier material is the perfect match and they were rewarded with a well-deserved standing ovation. Everyone involved in this production did a phenomenal job. So, if you’re looking for a sassy, madcap, tears streaming down your face good time, take a chance on First Date. It will be the best one you ever had.

The performance runs approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Due to adult language and themes, Avon Players has given this show an R rating.

Tickets for all shows are $30. Call 248-608-9077 for tickets or order online at Discounts on matinee tickets are available for seniors and students; call the box office for details. Additionally, group rates are available by calling the box office. “Like” Avon Players Theatre on Facebook for special offers on tickets. All major credit cards are accepted. All seats are reserved. 

Show dates and times

  • Saturday, May 27          8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 28            2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 2               8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 3           8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 4             2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 9               8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 10         8:00 p.m.
About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

Speak Your Mind