Come see the show people are calling ‘Comic Perfection,’ ‘Flat Out Hysterical,’ and an ‘Exceptionally Classy Production’ – First Date At The Royal George Cabaret! 


Religion, money, past relationships, sexual chemistry, psychological mooring — they are all touched on here…under the zesty direction of J.R. Rose, the eight gifted actors perfectly nail their characters as well as the music and comedy. Everyone here works the material to the hilt. And when it comes to ordering dinner, the salad-versus-burger dilemma is played out to recognizable comic perfection.”

- Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times. Read Full Article Here.



“A celebration of first date mythology. J.R. Rose has assembled a fine, fun-filled production. Charlie Lubeck and Dana Parker are perfectly cast as Aaron and Casey. An entirely believable and incredibly attractive couple, their chemistry and charisma easily sustain the drama, hold our attention, and capture our hearts.”

- Barnaby Hughes, Stage And Cinema


“A frothy little musical. Broad Appeal. [Dana] Parker clearly is talented. Exceptionally classy production!”

-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune



Across the board, the performances are winning. The players are gifted with good material, comic timing and serious singing/acting chops. It must be seen”

- Becky Sarwate, Edge Chicago



This is where I say “Hats off to a marvelous ensemble”! Cassie Slater, Shea Coffman, Anne Litchfield Calderon and the extremely funny Adam Fane. Directed by  J.R. Rose on a cleverly designed set  (Thad Hallstein truly uses this intimate space to perfection) with solid lighting (Brandon Lewis), costumes (Raquel Adorno) , props (Lisa Griebel) and sound by Dave Huizega. The choreography by Becky DeDecker is a delight. The musicians directed by Elizabeth Doran never overpowered the performers. This is something special in a small space, but this allowed us to hear every word of the score. I see this show as one that is fitting for a girls’ night out or a “bachelorette party” and yes, there is a bar.”

-Alan Bresloff, Around The Town Chicago 



“Parker and Lubeck are both strong performers. Immensely likeable”

-Melody Udell,




You’re rooting for this “First Date” to succeed from the very beginning. Scenic Designer Thad Hallstein has nailed the quintessential Chicago singles bar on the small cabaret stage, ringing the rim with a first row of seated audience tables that provide the energetic cast a surface to jump up on and serve to further draw the audience in to the story. The cool lighting and big screen TVs add to the sense of place. Musical Director/conductor Elizabeth Doran does fine work with the band and the vocalists here; given the clever lyrics and catchy tunes provided by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, the cast has a lot to work with—and they make the most of it. First Date” will find fans young and old, married and single. Everyone can identify with someone or some situation in this extremely relatable piece.”

-Julie Chernoff, Make It Better



“J.R. Rose's staging is handsome, and populated by an extremely charming cast”

-Kris Vire, Timeout Chicago



“All the songs humorously comment on the action, except for a solo by the waiter in the restaurant where the couple meets. He belts out a comical love song for no narrative purpose other than the song is pretty clever and the waiter (John Keating) really nails it. The light comedy and chirpy and witty score should entertain patrons across the adult spectrum, and the cast is really loaded with young men and women delightful to hear and watch.”

- Dan Zeff, Chicagoland Theater Reviews



Austin Winsberg (book) and Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (music and lyrics) have created an entertaining, emotionally satisfying show that never panders or condescends. Nor does J.R. Rose’s strong, well-paced production, packed with performers (notably Dana Parker and Charlie Lubeck) who know how to get their laughs without neglecting the emotional depths in this rich material”

- Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader



Charlie Lubeck and Dana Parker play Aaron and Casey with the necessary angst and apprehension. J.R. Rose’s direction and Becky Dedecker’s choreography is dynamic.”

-Colin Douglas, Chicago Theater Review



At its core the play is about a blind date between the awkwardly nervous Aaron (Charlie Lubeck) and the somewhat self-destructive and sassy Casey (played perfectly by Dana Parker). Cassie Slater does a terrific job inhabiting the role of Casey’s sister…Slater also plays other characters, which are fun and allow her to show a ton of versatility. Adam Fane’s appearance as Casey’s sassy gay BFF, Reggie, is the most memorable part of the evening. A solid contemporary musical.”

-Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, New City



“The cabaret lounge at the Royal George Theatre was sold out for the premiere of the Broadway musical comedy First Date. The audience was cheerful and warmed themselves by laughing, throughout the show, some even during the well-deserved standing ovation. In perfect time for this pocket of winter that stirs a primal blend within, sexual angst is pitted against unsatisfiable Jewish mothers, well-timed bathroom breaks, and choosing between the burger or the cobb salad. The 5 piece band playing the music composed by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner was set behind the wall, always washed in light, very much a key aspect of the show’s bursting and kinetic energy. It is necessary to highlight the cast as the cohesive ensemble they are, each player really mastered and breathed comfortably in their characters, I wanted to be in that bar for another 90 minutes after the second song. There was a seamless integration of action with production and lighting design. The choreography in the small space was subdued in a slick and sharp way, echoing the calls of the cabaret theatre which it is intended for. Simply, a flat-out hysterical show that will make a great date any night of the week.”

-Ben Cherkasky, Chicago Stage Standard. Read Full Review Here

Scenes from First Date: 'First Impressions'



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