Coming off their multi-Broadway World award-winning virtual cabaret show, on Saturday, March 19 at 8 PM EST, Broadway Everyday Star Theater (BEST) is debuting their global production of Blind Date Café on a virtual stage. The original play features performers of all ages from Tampa Bay and as far away as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines.
Ideas can come from anywhere, and for writer Katie Welch, inspiration came from her parents and the story of their almost missed connection. Her mother, Betsie, broke off an engagement and was warned she’d be an old maid if she didn’t get back into the dating pool. She was told about Harold, a young man who’d be perfect for her, and, given his information long before the internet, proceeded to write him a three-page introductory letter. Harold was overwhelmed, especially since he was on a horrible blind date before and did not respond for three months. Betsie became incensed at being ignored and decided moving on was the best option.
“It was Christmas Eve, and my dad was in Tampa trying to fly to Connecticut, but there was a massive snowstorm and a four-hour delay. He had called all his friends and decided he would call that Betsie girl.”
He reached out to her roommate to get Betsie’s work number, but Betsie was employed for GE Answering Service with over 400 telephone operators. The possibility of reaching Betsie was pretty improbable.
“First ring. ‘GE Answering Service, Ms. Graves speaking.’ My dad got my mom on the first ring. My dad said, ‘Betsie, Hi, it’s Harold.’ My mom said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ In her head, she’s thinking, ‘who the heck is this guy?’ He started talking about familiar things and mom was thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s the jerk!'”
The couple became pen pals and a year afterward met at Epcot. They were married twelve months later.
“My parents loved the play and were honored that I wrote a play about them.”BWW Previews: ORIGINAL COMEDY BLIND DATE CAFE DEBUTS VIRTUALLY WITH GLOBAL ACTORS at Broadway Everyday Star Theater
Co-directed by Katie and Amanda Schapiro, the comedy Blind Date Café tells multiple overlapping tales of this couple meeting for a blind date, another trying to sabotage their evening, an overbearing mother interrupting her son’s date, deception by the restaurant server, and all the added insanity of running a busy restaurant while shorthanded.
“We didn’t expect to get this many people involved from around the globe,” said Amanda. “It is kind of unreal, but it definitely shows that theatre has a worldwide impact.”
The pair agreed that the process was quite different when producing in a virtual setting because there is a lot of video editing, unlike live theatre.
Amanda explained, “And we’re working with people in different time zones, so feedback might not be immediate.”
The directors both agree that even though it was a lot of work to put it together, the final product is one everyone will want to see.
Amanda said that Blind Date Café is a comedy about opening yourself to new experiences.
Katie added that the theme of play is never judging a book by its cover.
“Who knows, that blind date that you go on, just might be your soulmate like my mom and dad. Never give up on love.”
Blind Date Café debuts online on March 19 at 8 PM. Tickets are $10 and available online at https://best.ticketleap.com/blind-date-cafe/dates/Mar-19-2022_at_0800PM