First Date's Kate Loprest on blind dates, Match.com, and Henry Cavill
Although we've all been on the quintessential disastrous first date, there are always some that turn out to be exciting surprises. This is what First Date is - an hour and a half of heartwarming (and at times, heart-crushing) fun. It chronicles a first date of two New Yorkers, complete with the awkward pauses, bailout phone calls, and the looming question of who will pay the check. The audience alternates between laughing and cringing as they relive every step of a first date with a couple who they can't help but root for in the end. Kate Loprest plays the ex-fiance meant to stir up some drama for the male lead, played by Zachary Levi. As she walked her dog around Columbus Circle, the 30-year-old actress talked about her history of being a part of "little shows that could." Loprest put it best when she said, "The relationships I make and the fun that I have, I wouldn't trade it for any big blockbuster. It's such a sweet existence."
You're from a small town in Chicago. When did you know you wanted to move to New York?
Not until the very last minute. Chicago in and of itself is a big theater town and I started working professionally when I was 15. I grew up going to regional theater there and thought that was the biggest deal. I had never really thought about New York until I got to college and everybody was talking about moving here. I did my showcase in New York and people responded really well and I got an agent.
Where was your first apartment?
You know, I sublet out in Astoria, like everybody does. [Laughs] I have a very sweet spot in my heart for Astoria. That's where it all started for me. I remember sitting on the train above ground on a beautiful fall day and seeing Manhattan. The world was my oyster at that point.
You live in Midtown now. What are your favorite places there?
(http://nypress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Celeb_First-Date_opt.jpeg)I live at 56th and 9th Ave, across the street from Kashkaval. It's a great Mediterranean-inspired wine and cheese bar. My girlfriends and I absolutely love it. It's a big theater hangout. I also live across from Route 66. There are a lot of diners in the city, but I feel like this one is cream of the crop. During Sandy last year, it was one of the restaurants that stayed open the entire time.
Your first principal role on Broadway was playing Amber in Hairspray.
With Hairspray, I started to feel like all my hard work was finally starting to pay off. When I joined the cast, we got our closing notice 10 days later. It was a sweet time in that show because everyone just had a love fest for the last four months. That's the thing with long-running shows - they go through ups and downs where people get complacent because they think that it's going to run forever. The first Broadway show I did was The Drowsy Chaperone - a little show that could - that just brought happiness. Then I moved on to do Xanadu, which ironically, is another little show that could.
In First Date, you play Allison, the ex-girlfriend. How would you describe her?
She is Aaron, the lead character's ex-fiance who left him at the altar. I think she thinks she's very special and that she deserves the best. You never get Allison's lament, but this is my backstory. I think that she genuinely had feelings for Aaron but she was young and got herself into a situation too quickly and didn't know how to handle it, so dealt with it poorly in the aftermath.
Did you base her on anyone in particular?
I grew up on the North Shore of Chicago. There are a lot of very wealthy, I would say, entitled, people there. I definitely took cues from people in my past, but you can take cues from entitled people in New York City too.
Have you been on many blinds dates in New York?
[Laughs] Ironically, along with the Match.com line in our show, I have definitely been on Match.com. I was on it when our show started. I am now off of it - not because I'm dating anyone - but because I don't really have time for it all. Match.com bought out the entire balcony of our show right after we opened and they sold half the seats to men and half to women. They paired up everybody randomly and sat them next to each other to watch the show. And afterwards, they had a little meet and greet.
What's your best first date memory?
You know, Krysta [Rodriguez, who plays Casey, the female lead] and I have talked a lot about this. I think, as with everybody in our cast, we just love talking to people and getting to know them. That's why I love New York City and am always open to taking classes and doing new things, because you can meet a new friend. I can honestly say I've had a lot of really great first dates. It's just the aftermath, when it falls apart. [Laughs]
The show jokes about off-limit first date topics like exes, religion, and admitting to Googling your prospective dating partner. What are some deal breakers for you?
Diseases and bodily functions. Things are still sacred at that point. I also don't really want to hear if you hate your parents. That's kind of a red flag for me.
I saw an interview with you where you said Henry Cavill is your celebrity crush. Has he come to see the show?
No, I would love it if he did. We close in January. Quick, run! [Laughs]
It's a very small cast of seven. Are you all close?
We're really close. I'm so lucky to do a show with seven people I absolutely adore. A cast of seven principals - you're lucky if it happens once in your lifetime. Broadway shows are usually crammed into theaters with casts of 35. I want to make sure this is on record, we have the most amazing, caring, and gracious producers I have ever worked with in my life. They put us in an environment of love and support every single day.
What's your favorite song in the show?
The song that I perform with Zac, "In Love With You," at the end of the show. I rarely sing a thing in the whole sequence, but it's a really fun acting experience for me. I try to do something a little different every night - pepper it with more angst, or a little more care. It's fun playtime for me, within reason.
Is the show really going to close? It's so good!
Tell me about it. Yeah, it is. But we're always like, "Maybe it'll extend." Then there are the ones - God love them, they keep our industry going - but they've been running for a million years. And you're like, "Why won't it die?" It's the sweet ones that run for a short amount of time.
To learn more about Kate, visit www.kateloprest.com
For tickets and information on First Date, visit www.firstdatethemusical.com