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Final Bow

Final Bow: Krysta Rodriguez Looks Back on Her First Date With Chuck's Zachary Levi

The ''Smash'' star shares her favorite memories of overcoming technical mishaps, bonding with her costars, and blaming everything on an imaginary actress named Heather. logo

Every show ends sometime (unless you're Phantom), so before the cast takes their final bow, there are a few things we want to know.

In her first Broadway appearance since becoming a big television star (on NBC's Smash), Krysta Rodriguez has been playing snarky punk chick Casey in the all-new musical comedy First Date at the Longacre Theatre. Rodriguez stars opposite the dashing Zachary Levi (NBC's Chuck), whose character, the stolid but cheesy Aaron, is accompanying her on a blind date. Though Aaron and Casey hit their fair share of snags, Rodriguez told TheaterMania that the oft-friend-zoned Aaron is just her type. The Broadway and screen favorite also divulged her first impression of Levi, her outlook on love, and where she thinks First Date's main characters will end up (hint: Greenpoint).

Krysta Rodriguez as Casey in First Date on Broadway.
(© Joan Marcus)

1. What is your favorite line that you delivered?

"OK what is this girl's address cuz I am in the mood to cut a bitch?"

2. Everyone loves inside jokes. So tell us…
a. What's the best one from your show?

We are always amazed at how few cast members we have so we've created an imaginary one named Heather. She's always late and we blame anything that goes wrong on her.

b. Since there probably is one, what's the punch line of your cast's most unprintable inside joke?

It's a song with questionable lyrics. But it ends with the phrase "ha HA devil!" You don't wanna know. Trust me.

3. Every show experiences technical difficulties. What was the worst technical difficulty experienced during your show and how was it handled?

Oh, man. So, Zac and I are onstage for the entire show, and there isn't any room for error when it comes to dealing with problems mid-show. One time, we were in the middle of a freeze, and Blake [Hammond], who plays the waiter, comes up to Zac and says, "Go downstairs now!" Apparently his mic was going out. So Zac leaves, and I'm left alone frozen onstage. At the time, someone was doing a number downstage but the number was rapidly ending, and I had no scene partner!

The song ends, the lights sort of come up but my mic's not on, so I awkwardly sip my drink alone. Blake comes over and does some waiter banter with me, which is pointless since my mic's not on. Finally Zac comes running back on, takes his seat, turns to me and says, "Sorry, sometimes when I get nervous I get diarrhea." My response: "Check please!" The audience loved it, we resumed the show and now we both wear two mics.

4. What was the most "interesting" present someone gave you at the stage door?

I've gotten some awesome stage-door gifts in my day. Drawings, cookies, amazing photo books. I've been so lucky. I did have a fan write me and request I sing at his funeral. He wasn't planning on it being soon, but he wanted to book me in advance.

5. Who is the coolest person that came to see your show? (You can't say your family!)

A ton of people! But it's fun when Zac's Chuck cast members come 'cause the fans go nuts.

6. What was your first impression of Zachary Levi when you were introduced?

Smart. He is super smart about his craft. We clicked right away intellectually about how we wanted to approach this show and these characters. It has been a joy to create something like this that's so intimate with someone you absolutely trust. It makes it so much more fun to risk and play.

7. To what extent do you see yourself in your character?

I am sarcastic like Casey. I'm a total jaded New Yorker who still believes love exists but it's gonna have to blow my mind at this point. I like to think I'm a bit more open and not so harsh. You'd have to ask other people about that one!

8. When it comes to dating, what is your "type"?

Aaron. Absolutely. I like the nerds, the sweet guys. I shop in the friend-zone discards!

9. What do you think happens to Aaron and Casey after the curtain comes down?

We have a big joke that at the end of the show, Grandma Ida comes back and says, "She's still not Jewish!" I hope they stay together. Or at least learn from each other. They seem like they would settle into being a cool couple who lives in Greenpoint and composts.

10. What has it been like to be back performing on Broadway after playing a Broadway star on Smash?

Exhausting! But so fulfilling. Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby.