First Date

The musical is set in New York City.

There will be no intermission.

April 18,19 & 20 at 7:30 pm
April 21 at 2:00 pm

Goppert Performing Arts Center
The Bill and Jean Buchanan Stage
Avila University
11901 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64105


To reserve tickets, please get in touch with our Box Office via telephone at 816.501.3699 or email at

Regular Tickets

Regular — $10
Seniors — $8
Non-Avila Students — $8
Avila Students — FREE

Children under 10 receive free entry at all Avila Performing Arts events

Who’s Who

Learn more about First Date, staff, and crew!

Director’s Notes

Most people don’t think of musical comedy as something worthy of serious academic study. However, I wrote my PhD dissertation in Performance Studies on that very subject. As a popular entertainment, musical theatre is always a reflection of the time and place in which it is created revealing the cultural values of that particular moment. This is true even if a work
is set in distant lands or historical eras (look at Hamilton as a prime example). First Date is, therefore, a fascinating study of the mating habits of our culture in the 21st century.
I would describe this show as quintessentially postmodern blending past, present, and imagined futures simultaneously on stage. Aaron and Casey – the protagonists of the eponymous “first date” – are metatextual creations; their current reality intertwines with and is informed by characters and situations from their histories, fantasies, lived experience, predispositions and biases, and dreams for the future. While the show takes place in a single location over the course of one evening, we are given a palimpsest of information into these characters’ lives and why they may or may not experience a “happily ever after.” In other words, think of this show as the theatrical manifestation of the internet on stage where one idea leads to and is informed by multitudes of others. As Aaron says in the show, “I know the internet’s supposed to be this great way to ‘connect’ people […] but I think it’s doing the opposite. Especially when it comes to dating.”
The other aspect of taking musical comedy seriously is of course the talent, training, and skill required to perform in
and produce a musical in academia. It has been an absolute
joy working with the talented students and faculty at Avila University on this show. Their willingness to collaborate, dedication to excellence, and overall work ethic and collegiality has made this “First Date” a pure delight. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the show!


AaronTucker Rushing
CaseyOlivia Loren
Waiter/EnsembleAlec Sade
Reggie/EnsembleDay Zamora
Grandma Ida/EnsembleJazmin Havens
Caseys Father/EnsembleRoy Williams
Aarons Son/EnsembleHadiyah Bayan
Aarons Mother/EnsembleTaylor Williams
Allison/EnsembleTori Bestor
Lauren/EnsembleZaria Redick
Gabe/EnsembleMicah Cheek
Ensemble Understudy Eliot Reese

Production Staff

DirectorChris McCoy
Musical DirectorJohn Livingston
Scenic DesignerKelsey Harms
Prop DesignersTa’ja Snipes
Costume DesignerSamantha Reiner
Assistant Costume DesignerTori Bestor
Lighting DesignerTalia Hinckley, John Dylon Rohr
Sound DesignerAbigail Dearing
Stage ManagerAri Hernandez
Technical DirectorJohn Dylon Rohr
Assistant Stage ManagersGabriella Fast, Eleanor Frances, Eliot Reese

Pit Orchestra

Conductor/ KeysJohn Livingston
Guitar 1 Dr. Aaron Redburn
DrumsNathin Kilen

Production Crew

Head CarpenterKyle Hammond
Head ElectricianEleanor Frances
Paint ChargeGaby Dawn
Assistant ChargeEliot Reese
Costumes CrewKelsey Harms, Zaria Redick, Samantha Reiner
Carpentry CrewJazmin Havens, Roy Williams, Kelsey Harms, Alex Valdez, Olivia Loren, Ta’ja Snipes, Tori Bestor
Electrics CrewKyle Hammond, Gabriella Fast, Miriam Gleeson, Stage Lighting Class
Paint CrewAri Hernandez, Mariah Masterson, Jazmin Havens, Kelsey Harms, Alex Valdez, Miriam Gleeson, Samantha Reiner, Ta’ja Snipes
Props CrewMariah Masterson, Roy Williams, Charlie Anderson, Angel Hernandez, Ari Hernandez
Light Board OperatorEliot Reese
Sound Board OperatorAbigail Dearing
Wardrobe CrewKyle Hammond, Miriam Gleeson, Mariah Masterson
Front of House CrewAlex Valdez
Front of HouseGaby Dawn, Charlie Anderson, Samantha Reiner

Performing Arts Faculty

Dean of the College of Arts and SciencesDr. Darrin Smith
Chair of Performing ArtsDr. Amity Bryson
Director of Performance StudiesMatt Schwader Harbor
Director of Design and TechnologyJohn Dylon Rohr
Theatre Professors EmeritiCharlene Gould, Ph .D .
Robert Foulk William J . Louis, Ph .D .
Adjunct FacultyAshley Coffer, Jim Fletcher, Dr . Andi Fredrickson, John Livingston, Gene Mackey, Dr . Aaron Redburn, Shannon Smith-Regnier William Grey Warren

Special Acknowledgments

  • Advancement Office 
  • Great Western Dining
  • Maintenance and Housekeeping
  • Office of Marketing and Communication
  • Belinda Troxler
  • Daniel Weigel, Ph.D., LPC/LCPC
  • Student Access Office

And to Dr . Amity Bryson for decades of devotion to Avila’s School of Performing Arts, THANK YOU!

Arts at Avila

Laureate Circle of Arts

These donors have generously supported
the arts at Avila University with cumulative giving in excess of $50,000 over their lifetime, specifically in support of arts facilities and art programs at the University. We are immensely grateful for their contributions.

  • Mrs. Jean M. ’76, ’18 & Mr. William M. ’18 Buchanan
  • Constance M. Cooper Charitable Foundation
  • Roderick J. & Jo Anne Cyr Foundation
  • Mr. Joseph T. ’16 & Mrs. Susan Fahey
  • Mr. David W. ’76 & Mrs. Geri Frantze
  • Vita Goppert Charitable Trust
  • Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation
  • William T. Kemper Foundation
  • The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc.
  • Oppenstein Brothers Foundation
  • Victor E. & Caroline E. Schutte Foundation
  • Victor E. Speas Foundation
  • The Richard J. Stern Foundation
  • for the Arts
  • The Sunderland Foundation
  • Mr. James & Dr. Sue King Willcox ’79
  • Mr. Edward & Mrs. Mary Agnes Thornhilland Family:
    • Ms. Jill E. Thornhill,
    • Ms. Margot A. Thornhill,
    • Mr. Mark A. Thornhill,
    • Mr. Thomas Thornhill,
    • Mr. Robert & Mrs. Mary Ellen Dick


  • Mrs. Jane Bohnenstiehl Carol K. Coburn, Ph.D. Ms. Laurie Dearing
  • Dr. Bryan DePoy
  • Mrs. Rose Marie Falco ‘47
  • Ms. Molly C. Fisher
  • Dr. Leah Gensheimer
  • Mr. Jeremy M. Lillig ‘03, CSJA Dr. Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph.D. Dr. Amy E. Milakovic, Ph.D. Jeff, Suzanne and Anya Myers Dr. Marcia C. Pasqualini, Ph.D.


  • Phil Fiorini, ’82
  • Rob M. Scoles ’88
  • Dr. Jordan Wagge
  • KC Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
    • Helen Alder, CSJ
    • Laverne Aufmuth, CSJ
    • Ann Charles Everett, CSJ
    • Rosemary Flanigan, CSJ
    • Marie Joan Harris, CSJ*
    • Jeanne Janssen, CSJ*
    • Mary Frances Johnson, CSJ*
    • Ann Landers, CSJ
    • Mary Margaret Lazio, CSJ*
    • Mary Kay Liston, CSJ
    • Patricia Lorenz, CSJ
    • Shawn Madigan, CSJ*
    • Mary McKay, CSJ
    • Rose McLarney, CSJ
    • Marilyn Peot, CSJ
    • Gabrielle Smits, CSJ
    • Ruth Stuckel, CSJ
    • Rita Francis Volvedich, CSJ
    • *Board of Trustees


  • Dr. Alexandra and Bill Adams Fr. Keith Branson, C.P.P.S.
  • Dr. Amity H. Bryson
  • Dr. James Burkee, Ph.D.
  • Mr. Richard and Dr. Charlene Gould, Ph.D., CSJA
  • Dr. Stacy Keith, Ed.D. Ms. Shirley Loesch
  • Dr. Lawrence C. Marsh

Ticket Information

Reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at 816.501.3699 for more information.

Evening performances begin at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday matinee performances begin at 2:00 p.m.

Season Tickets

Regular — $30
Seniors — $28

Regular Tickets

Regular — $10
Seniors — $8
Non-Avila Students — $8
Avila Students — FREE

Children under 10 receive free entry at all Avila Performing Arts events

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