‘My First Date’ pulls all the heart strings
ENNIS – The world premiere of “My First Date” opened last weekend at Theatre Rocks! – and it hits all the love notes, from puppy love to parental love, first romance to long-married devotion.
This romantic comedy written and directed by Bill Rhoten is set in the 1940s.
“I love period pieces, and I love the ’40s,” said Rhoten. The director dug into the history of 1941, just before these United States entered World War II.
He wove together a couple of stories from his and his wife Suzanne’s own history with true tidbits of unearthed history to create the fabric of “My First Date.”
Rhoten said he wanted “the high contrast of the joy of being in love” and a sailor getting his first base assignment with the sobering reality of the impending war.
The play itself remains fairly lighthearted throughout.
It features Cassidy Ann Hortman as Annastasia Erhard, a Texas girl looking forward to the prospect of a first date with a young sailor she’s been writing letters to for quite some time.
Ben Rosewell plays Caleb Keener, the earnest sailor in question.
As Anna waits and waits for her date to arrive, she is pestered by her spunky younger sister Sunny (Caroline Marshall), who has already been sparking with young Billy Edwards (Zachary Brennan).
Her prankster dad (Joe Skrivanek) is prepared to meet Anna’s date, with his shotgun at the ready.
The whole family is also anticipating the arrival of Pastor Jimmy Alden (Buzz Fanion) and his wife (Shannon Massara) for supper at their Lake Mathis home. Eve Erhard (Kimberly Carty) is busy whipping up a batch of her infamous, gas-inducing deviled eggs for the evening.
While Anna waits, looking hopefully from the family porch and dreaming of dancing at the new Naval Air Station in nearby Corpus Christi, postman Mr. Walker (Aaron Green) comes along with his daily deliveries.
He stops long enough to share an energetic jitterbug with Anna – and a mop.
The entire cast and director do a great job of giving a charming, heart-warming slice of life in 1941. More details about the action would simply give away too many of the surprises in store. However, chances are, audience members will be googling multiple historical details immediately upon the play’s finale.
Big Band and swing numbers set the mood for the show, with the special bonus of an original song written for “My First Date” by Theatre Rocks! regular Lisa Rosewell. Orchestrated variations on that original theme were composed by Rick Moore and used throughout the show.
“My First Date” continues through February 24 at Theatre Rocks!, 505 NW Main St. in Ennis. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24.
Doors open 30 minutes before show time.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior adults and students.
For more information or reservations, call 972-878-5126 or visit www.theatrerocks.com.