We caught up with leading lady, Gina Mets and Musical Director Andrew Houston about their upcoming collaboration, the Australian Premiere of First Date.
What’s the story line of “First Date”?
Andrew: It was written by “Gossip Girl’ writer, Austin Winsberg with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. When blind date newbie Aaron (Luke Peverelle) is set up with serial-dater Casey (Gina Mets), a casual 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 that they are not alone on this unpredictable evening. In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines.
What’s the worst or best first date you’ve been on?
Gina: Personally I avoid dating at all cost! I find the build up and pressure of small talk extremely flustering. However, if I had to pick an embarrassing ‘first date’ to share, it would have to be the time I went out with a friend and was oblivious to any flirtatious signals he was sending. At the end of the night he went in for the kiss, to which I then I realised that I had been on a date the entire night.
Andrew: I once went on a date where the girl’s mother tried to crack on to me. I politely excused myself and got out of there as fast as I could!!!
What orchestra have you pulled together for the show?
Andrew: The First Date band consists of 2 keyboards (Amber Simm & Craig Minty), guitar/banjo (Gerard Assi), bass (Patrick Devine), drums (Victor Brincat) and reeds [flute, clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax, baritone sax] (Andrew Houston). Wonderfully talented musicians that have played with many well-known local and international artists.
Can you relate to your role?
Gina: The role of Casey is quite relatable. She is a strong, hot headed woman who has accumulated some baggage along the way. Although her insecurities can lead her to self sabotage situations in her life, she still longs for ‘happily ever after.’
What has the rehearsal period been like?
Andrew: We have a very talented cast who have worked extremely hard. They have responded very well to the challenges set by the production team. Our cast have been very supportive of each other which has made the creative process a great joy. There is nothing better than being excited about going to work or counting down the days until you get to go back. In some ways, it has very much felt like that buzz going back to when I was starting out… only this time a little bit wiser.
How have you adapted the show to give it your own creative spin?
Gina: Being in a small theatre; the show is staged on a fixed set, based in a hip New York restaurant. Having the luxury of being in the theatre throughout the rehearsal period, meant we were able to use the space and set from the word go.
Andrew: The score demands an understanding of genres from Beastie Boys style rap to Green Day-esque rock to a Broadway boom-chick and Lady Gaga-licious styles as well as everything in between. The creative process musically has been great fun visiting these styles with the cast and coaching them through the various changes.
What’s your personal highlight of the show?
Gina: ‘First Date’ is very different to any other show that I’ve worked on. I think the highlight for me is how funny the script is and how hilarious it has been working with the cast to bring out the best moments. Many times we have had to take a moment to reset because of our out of control laughter.
Andrew: There are many highlights in this show from the numerous characters that pop up; the bigger ensemble numbers; the inner thoughts/struggle of Casey (Gina Mets) in Safer or the emotion of The Things I Never Said (Luke Peverelle and Melissa Nolan)
First Date Opens October 16
For details: CLICK HERE