EXCLUSIVE: Chicago’s long-running #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment is finally making a date with New York City: The offbeat blend of improv, scripted comedy and musical theater will begin performances at Off Broadway’s Westside Theatre this summer.
Performances begin June 20 in New York, following a three-year Chicago run. Created by playwright Robyn Lynne Norris, who wrote the show with Bob Ladewig and Frank Caeti, #DateMe is based (loosely, most likely) on Norris’ “social experiment” of creating 38 fake “undateable” profiles on the OKCupid dating site. The results were then used as source material for a one-act limited engagement show called Undateable at Second City Hollywood.
Encouraged and assisted by producer Diane Alexander to expand the idea – and apparently getting a go-ahead from OK Cupid – the show grew to the two-act #DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment, moved to Chicago’s Up Comedy Club and found its audience. Eight re-mounts have been staged there over the past three years, with sold-out houses for the last year and a half, producers say.
The show had a New York reading last October, and the Off Broadway move was announced today by the New York staging’s producers Elizabeth Williams and Diane Alexander with Remmel Dickinson, Benjamin Lowy and Adrian Salpeter. The director is Waitress choreographer Lorin Lattaro, and the musical comedy features song lyrics by Robyn Lynne Norris, Frank Caeti, Amanda Blake Davis, Bob Ladewig, with original music by Julie Nichols and Dan Wessels.
Casting wasn’t announced but a recent casting call included the following breakdown: “This show is based on REAL people’s responses to FAKE Characters on the dating website OkCupid. ALL actors must be versatile comedic actors, as they will play a wide range of characters. Able to play broad without being caricatures, as well as vulnerable and sincere. All roles require singing, high energy, improv, and audience interaction skills.”
Here’s how the producers describe #DateMe: “Robyn Lynne Norris (the show’s creator and writer) is unlucky in love but determined to understand it better, so she logs on to the world’s most popular dating site: OkCupid. Creating 38 ‘undateable’ profiles as an interactive scientific investigation into online dating, Robyn unwittingly sets in motion the social experiment of our generation. Part improv, part sketch comedy and entirely hilarious, Robyn makes one conclusive result: there’s no algorithm for love.”
The creative team includes David Arsenault (scenic design), Travis McHale (lighting design), Sam Hains (projections and interconnectivity).