Broadway is certainly no stranger to a good love story, and that’s true offstage and on. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we're taking a look at power couples who (individually and together) make an impact on the theatre world.
Audra McDonald and Will Swenson
Each a major Broadway star in their own right, these two met working on the 2007 Broadway revival production of 110 in the Shade. Swenson understudied Starbuck, the love interest to McDonald’s Lizzie, and their onstage chemistry proved to work offstage as well. The pair married in October 2012, and four years later (nearly to the day) McDonald and Swenson welcomed their daughter Sally James McDonald-Swenson into the world. McDonald holds the record for the most Tony Awards won by an individual (six) and Swenson, currently starring as Neil Diamond in A Beautiful Noise, earned a Tony nomination in 2009 for Hair.
This couple really brought their art to the reality, partnering up IRL after co-starring in 2018's Mean Girls as Cady Heron and Aaron Samuels. Shortly after sharing the stage, the two were seen canoodling at Chris Eisel's Halloween party—or at least that's what we heard in the hallways at North Shore High. The pair got engaged in 2021 and officially tied the knot last November. So fetch!
Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus
Speaking of life imitating art, this pair met playing opposite each other in Wicked on tour, with Block as Elphaba and Arcelus as Fiyero. The two later reprised their performances together on Broadway, and then married in 2007. Though both have worked extensively solo, they seem to be most happy bringing their real-life love to their acting careers. They have since played a married couple on TV's Madam Secretary, and they most recently co-starred as The Baker and The Baker's Wife in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods, roles they will reprise in the production's national tour beginning February 18 in Buffalo!
Neither of these Broadway newcomers play the violin as far we know, but both appeared in the recent Broadway revival of 1776, Souza as Dr. Josiah Bartlett and Serur as a standby, later replacing as George Read—both are now performing in the production's national tour as well. But if you can believe it, this pair did not meet on the production! Souza and Serur initially met at a concert in which they were both performing shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Though they had to keep the flame going separately while in quarantine, their connection turned out to be real. Souza had booked 1776 pre-pandemic, so Serur's casting when the production needed some new performers post-pandemic turned out to be a moment of true kismet. And their relationship goes beyond sharing a home and a stage—the two wrote an original musical, We Start in Manhattan, that premiered in concert at 54 Below earlier this year featuring both Serur and Souza and some of their fellow 1776 cast members.
Terrence Mann and Charlotte d’Amboise
The duo stands strong as one of Broadway’s most influential (and award-worthy) couples. D’Amboise is a two-time Tony nominee for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and the 2007 revival of A Chorus Line. With many Broadway credits to her name, d’Amboise also concurrently rehearsed for two roles: the cover for Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity and Roxie Hart in Chicago. When Charity star Christina Applegate broke her ankle, d’Amboise became the full time Charity and had to leave her plans for Chicago behind—though she has played the role many times since. Mann is a three-time Tony nominee for Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables, and Pippin, where he shared the stage with his wife. Mann also created the role of Rum Tum Tugger in Cats. D’Amboise's father, famed choreographer Jacques d’Amboise, founded the National Dance Institute to promote dance for young children. D’Amboise serves on the Board of Directors and Mann has also lent his talents to support NDI through its fundraising events.
The couple wed in 2017 and have been dominating the boards since. Pasquale was last on Broadway in American Son, while Soo will soon be Guenevere in Lincoln Center Theater's Camelot revival. They also shared the stage opposite each other in Kennedy Center's recent revival of Guys and Dolls, with Soo as Sarah Brown and Pasquale as Sky Masterson. Soo is best known for originating the role of Natasha in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 Off-Broadway as well as Eliza Hamilton in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton, for which she earned a Tony nomination. She originated the title role in the new musical Amélie. Pasquale starred in The Bridges of Madison County on Broadway and The Robber Bridegroom Off-Broadway.
Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson
This coupling spans both sides of the curtain! Though LaTanya Richardson Jackson has an extensive stage, film, and TV career, she's recently turned her eyes to directing. She became the first woman to direct an August Wilson play on Broadway with the most recent revival of The Piano Lesson, which featured Samuel L. as Doaker Charles. The couple met in 1980 at Morehouse College and have somehow managed to stay the course even as both managed incredibly successful careers—the pair recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
This couple has not appeared on the same Broadway stage, but their respective careers have made them both Main Stem mainstays. Currently starring Off-Broadway as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Doyle made his Broadway debut in Spring Awakening, and went on to appear in Bye Bye Birdie, War Horse, and The Book of Mormon—oh, and you know he also become a 2022 Tony winner for his tongue-tying performance as Jamie in Company. Clayton has quickly become one of Broadway’s leading ensemble men after making his Broadway debut in 2015’s Gigi and moving on to On the Town, Something Rotten!, Bandstand, and Hello, Dolly! Clayton also earned applause as the Harold Hill standby in Broadway's recent revival of The Music Man.
This pair also met while working on a show together, a 2012 production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? That played Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre before hitting Broadway. The two married a year later and welcomed their first child just a few weeks ago. A Pulitzer-winning playwright, Letts won the Prize (and the Tony for Best Play) for August: Osage County, which also marked his Broadway debut and was later adapted into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. His second Broadway outing as a writer, Superior Donuts, has been adapted into a network TV series. Letts is also a seminal performer, having won two Tonys for performing for his work in Virginia Woolf? And The Realistic Joneses, and can be seen in the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird as the McPhereson patriarch. Coon earned a Tony nod for Virginia Woolf?, but moved over mainly to the screen, where she earned an Emmy nomination for Fargo. You can catch them working together again on the big screen in the Academy Award-nominated The Post.
Andy Karl and Orfeh
When Andy Karl made his Broadway debut joining the cast of Saturday Night Fever, he thought he was just reaching a career milestone. Little did he know, he’d also meet the love of his life, Orfeh, who starred as Annette. Karl and Orfeh married just six months later and have been together ever since. The two played opposite each other again in 2007’s Legally Blonde the Musical, with Orfeh creating the role of Paulette and Karl taking on the UPS man she falls in love with. They also recently debuted their duo cabaret show Legally Bound, which was released as an album last August. Karl is a two-time Tony nominee for Rocky and Groundhog Day, and Orfeh returned to Broadway in 2018 in Pretty Woman: The Musical as Kit.
Kyle Dean Massey and Taylor Frey
These days, Kyle Dean Massey is best known as Kevin Bicks on TV’s Nashville, while Taylor Frey has had stints on Days of Our Lives, The Carrie Diaries, and appeared in the films G.B.F. and Summertime. Both actors have Broadway roots: Massey appeared in Xanadu, Next to Normal, Wicked, and Pippin, while Frey was in Finian’s Rainbow, South Pacific, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The couple was married in Palm Springs in October 2016, and co-starred opposite each other in the 2022 LGBTQ-themed Lifetime Christmas movie A Christmas to Treasure.
When it comes to Broadway power couples, these two may be the most powerful of all. Roth is the president and majority owner of Jujamcyn Theaters (reportedly soon to be creative director of a new Jujamcyn-Ambassador Theatre Group conglomerate), which owns five Broadway theatres in addition to its producing interests, while Jackson is the film and stage producer behind Nurse Jackie and Broadway’s A Catered Affair. The couple, married in 2012, are raising two children together.
Logan Culwell-Block is a musical theatre historian and Playbill's Managing News Editor.