Sweet geek Zachary Levi tackles Broadway in ‘Blind Date’

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In “First Date,” Levi pairs up with Krysta Rodriguez, who’s additionally maybe maybe not Jewish. (Joan Marcus)

In “First Date,” Levi pairs up with Krysta Rodriguez, who’s additionally maybe maybe not Jewish. ( )

Those that adored the sweetly nerdy lead of TV’s “Chuck” will undoubtedly be very happy to find its celebrity, Zachary Levi, on Broadway, doing just just just just what he does most readily useful: singing, dancing . . . cringing.

In “First Date,” opening in a few days, Levi plays Aaron — as awkwardly earnest as Chuck, but as bearded and bespectacled as a yeshiva kid, on top of that. Cue the cringing whenever Aaron discovers that their date that is hot — the comely Krysta Rodriguez (“Smash”) — is not Jewish.

Then once more, neither is Levi.

“Nope, maybe maybe perhaps not just a Jew!” he says by having a grin. “But if individuals wish to lump me personally in with God’s opted for, I’ll go on it!”

Backstage in the Longacre Theatre — backpack by their part, their 6-foot-4 frame closing in black colored Converse sneakers — the set that is 32-year-old record right, their discussion peppered with all the words “journey,” “amazing” and “blessed.”

He had been created Zachary Levi Pugh — that Welsh surname’s pronounced “pewww!” — which resulted in no end of “brutal responses” in boyhood and past. Their representative recommended the young star might would like to change their title.

It wasn’t a decision that is easy.

“I’d made a guideline that i’dn’t alter or fold for Hollywood,” claims the star, whom spent my youth in Southern Ca, into the shadow of Disneyland. But about it long and hard,” he decided to simply lose the Pugh after he“prayed.

That, Levi states, resulted in another trouble: “I’ve had casting directors call my representative and state, ‘Yeah, you know — he’s a tad too Jewish.’ ”

In terms of the creators of “First Date” had been concerned, Levi had been perfectly.

“Zachary’s such as for instance a version that is better-looking of — the me I’ve always desired to be,” says Austin Winsberg, the show’s bespectacled book author. While composing for “Gossip woman,” which shared workplaces in the Warner Brothers lot with “Chuck,” Winsberg saw in Levi just what he calls “the sweet spot — a person who could sing, party, become funny and have fun with the intimate main character, usually the one ladies wish to be with plus the dudes root for. ”

As it took place, Levi ended up being free, and Broadway ended up being on their bucket list. He’d been singing and dancing in local movie movie theater I was a ham”), and he and his “Tangled” co-star Mandy Moore sang a duet together at the Oscars since he was 6.

Their only doubt: getting typecast as a nerd, also if he views himself this way in true to life. He and buddy run a small business he describes as “Nike for Nerds” — the Nerd Machine, which produces duds and gizmos for sci-fi fans and gamers like Levi himself, whom place their supply by way of a light fixture whilst hitting an overhead smash during a Wii game of tennis.

“ we think in making use of the working platform you’ve got for good,” says Levi, who calls their company transactions capitalism that is“conscientious have a dollar, provide a buck.” He’s a devoted supporter of procedure Smile as well as other charities, and arranged for per week off at “First Date,” just after previews began, to honor their dedication to appear at Geek Central, a k a Comic-Con.

And their love life?

“That we won’t go into,” he states, pleasantly. Despite a well-publicized breakup with singer Caitlin Crosby, he’s was able to keep their personal life in the down low.

“I’m maybe maybe not really a big dater, really,” he claims. “I’m a go-with-the-flow variety of guy . . .

I’d rather hang away with somebody in a bunch to see when they check these different containers beside me before we venture out together — get acquainted with one another extremely casually and coolly, of course there’s chemistry, then we’ll continue a night out together.”

Judging through the ecstatic applause Levi’s drawing in “First Date,” great deal of individuals is really very happy to understand him better.


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