Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) presents its second show of the 2021 season, “First Date,” through Aug. 1 at its Historic Owen Theatre on the campus of Mars Hill University.

Catch the curtain at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $26.

When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds that they are not alone on this unpredictable evening.

In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines.

Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives?

This charmingly irreverent comedy features Ness Nowik and Maximilian Koger as Casey and Aaron, with Mathew Harper, William Tyler Ezzell, Dillon Giles, Lauren Eddings, and Jennifer Poarch playing a multitude of characters.

Since its founding in 1975 by visionary director and theatre educator Jim Thomas, SART has produced scores of plays, musicals and original works, many portraying the rich culture and heritage of Southern Appalachia.

After operating for many years as a program of MHU, SART became an independent 501©(3) nonprofit organization in 2003 and is governed by a volunteer board of directors.

In recognition of its artistic excellence and cultural importance to the community, SART has received major funding from The Madison County Tourism and Development Authority, The National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, Madison County Arts Council and the Shubert Foundation. SART also receives in-kind support from Mars Hill University, along with donations and sponsorships from many generous individuals and business owners.

In 2021 Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre is dedicated to bringing quality entertainment to Western North Carolina. Under the management of Chelsey Lee Gaddy, senior artistic director, and J. Ethan Henry managing artistic director, SART opened its 47th Mainstage season on June 17 with “The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown.

For more information, follow Southern Appalachian Repertory theatre on social media @sartplays or visit

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