Broadway’s Married Couples

We all know that theater is a labor of love. But some of Broadway’s brightest stars have taken that to heart more than others, looking within our own theater community for romantic partnerships. In preparation for Valentine’s Day, here’s Broadway’s Best Shows’ list of our favorite Broadway duos.

Audra McDonald & Will Swenson

Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Audra McDonald is the Tony-winningest performer in history. And if she represents Broadway royalty, then her husband of over 10 years, Will Swenson, undoubtedly stands as a king in his own right. While McDonald graced the stage most recently in Ohio State Murders, Swenson commanded the stage just across Times Square, leading the cast of A Beautiful Noise as Neil Diamond. The couple starred opposite each other in a 2015 Williamstown Theatre Festival production of A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill.

Phillipa Soo & Steven Pasquale

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Another pair of performers, Philippa Soo and Steven Pasquale recently mirrored their real-life relationship, playing lovers at the Kennedy Center in their 2022 production of Guys & Dolls. Individually, Soo has appeared in Hamilton, Amélie, and Camelot, while Pasquale’s credits include The Bridges of Madison County and American Son. The couple were married in 2017, following her star-making run in Hamilton and ahead of his engagement in Lincoln Center Theater’s Junk

Andy Karl & Orfeh

Photo by Amy Arbus

Likely the first Broadway couple that comes to mind for many, Andy Karl & Orfeh have been married since 2001, mere months after meeting when Karl joined the cast of Saturday Night Fever. The stalwarts have appeared together on the Broadway stage twice more since then, in 2007’s Legally Blond: The Musical and 2018’s Pretty Woman: The Musical

Christopher Fitzgerald & Jessica Stone

Photo: City Center

It might be a surprise to learn that the Tony-nominated director of Kimberly Akimbo and the upcoming Water for Elephants is married to the legendary character actor, of Wicked, Waitress, and now Spamalot fame. In true showbiz fashion, Fitzgerald and Stone met in 1999, performing opposite each other in the 1999 Encores! Concert of Babes in Arms at City Center, and married in 2001. As Stone transitioned from a performer to a director, they continued to work together – most notably, Stone directed the legendary 2009 production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Williamstown Theatre Festival, starring Fitzgerald as Pseudolus alongside an all-male cast.

Photo: Williamstown Theatre Festival

Lisa Peterson & Rachel Hauck

Photo by Jennifer Broski

A power couple off- and on Broadway, Rachel Hauck is the Tony-winning set designer of Hadestown, and Lisa Peterson is the two-time OBIE-winning director of new plays premiered around the country. They met while working at the Mark Taper Forum in 1996. Audiences might best know their project An Iliad, which Peterson wrote with performer Denis O’Hare, and which toured the country after its 2012 premiere. They most recently collaborated on the 2023 play Good Night, Oscar, which also marked Peterson’s Broadway debut. 

Charlotte d’Amboise & Terrence Mann

Photo by Joan Marcus

Triple threat Charlotte d’Amboise has been married to fellow performer Terrence Mann since 1996, after meeting over a decade prior when they were both in Cats on Broadway. D’Amboise has had a long career on the Broadway stage, including two Tony-nominated performances, but is maybe best known for her perennial stints as Roxie Hart in Chicago, to which she has returned more than 25 times for brief runs in the starring role. Mann, a three-time Tony nominee, has appeared in 14 Broadway productions since 1981. The couple most recently appeared together in the 2013 revival of Pippin, and have also co-founded Triple Arts, a training program for aspiring musical theater performers, which they operate and teach together.

Maryann Plunkett & Jay O. Sanders

Photo by Joseph Marzullo

Two veterans of the New York stage, Maryann Plunkett and Jay O. Sanders have been married since 1991. Each with decades-long careers on and off Broadway, the pair has appeared onstage together in Richard Nelson’s Apple Family and The Gabriels play cycles, as husband & wife in the former three plays and then as brother- & sister-in-law in the latter. Recently, their work on Broadway overlapped as Sanders finished up the final weeks of his run in Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch at Music Box Theatre, while Plunkett worked directly across 45th Street in tech rehearsals for The Notebook at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Leslie Odom, Jr. & Nicolette Robinson

Photo by Marcus Middleton

Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. married Nicolette Robinson back in 2012, years before he would go on to become a household name as the original Aaron Burr in Hamilton, and she would make her own Broadway debut in Waitress. The couple are frequent creative collaborators, releasing music together, co-writing a children’s book, and most recently, teaming up as producers for the 2023 Broadway revival of Purlie Victorious, in which Odom also starred in the title role. 

Allan & Beth Williams | Photo 30 of 43 | Great Balls of Fire! Million Dollar Quartet  Burns Up Broadway on Opening Night

Behind-the-scenes duo Allan Williams & Beth Williams have each been a part of over 65 Broadway productions in their careers to date. Allan is a veteran General Manager and Producer, recently serving as GM on Purlie Victorious, Good Night Oscar, and Diana the Musical and as Executive Producer on American Utopia, The Band’s Visit, and American Psycho. Beth is a Producer, who also served as CEO of Broadway Across America between 2008 and 2013. She has 12 Tony Awards to date, and her next show is the new musical Water for Elephants.


“I don’t think I’ll ever think of it the old way again”: A Q&A with Emergence’s Patrick Olson

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Q&A with Patrick Olson of Emergence

By Broadway’s Best Shows Staff

The new show Emergence, now running at the Pershing Square Signature Center, knows it’s hard to describe – is it a musical? A concert? A scientific exploration? An acid trip? It’s a little bit of everything. In this interview with lead performer and composer Patrick Olson, we explore the creative process behind this idiosyncratic event, that’s a little bit David Byrne, a little bit Carl Sagan, and even a little bit Woodstock. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Broadway’s Best Shows

Why write songs about huge philosophical questions?

Patrick Olson

You know, it may be less of a choice than just a simple response to how my mind is evolving, as I get older. I’ve tended to find that over time, whatever songs I’m writing at a given point in my life are reflective of the thought space that I carry around in that time. And maybe that’s not so surprising! I really think about these big questions, I really think about the implications of scientific insight. I really think about what it means to be human in a rapidly changing environment that we’re all in. And since I think about those things all the time, I think it’s natural that the music would reflect that.


Tell us about the songwriting process. I mean, it’s the cliche question, which comes first, the music or the lyrics, but…


I normally start with just a baseline, and try to find some bass groove that feels right to me, and evokes some kind of specific emotion. The rhythm section of drums and bass constitute the spine of any song, so I like to start with the spine. And once that feels like it’s in a certain kind of pocket, then I just start noodling around the edges of that. Typically, the next thing [is] a basic portal structure that I would do on an acoustic piano, and figure out what kind of chord progressions feel right in relation to that baseline and those drums, and what sort of harmonic harmonic dimensions will come out of that. Lastly, I start to experiment with vocal ideas, which constitute the melody of any given song. 

Once all of that is in place, then I really like to give the music a week or two, to breathe on its own and develop its own sense of character. And so when writing lyrics and the song, the structure of the song, the tone of the song, the qualities that the instrumentals offer, they really shape what the emotional context of the lyrics is going to be in. Then it’s just a matter of linking that to whatever ideas seem to fit the best. And usually, there are scientific insights of one kind or another, and the song kind of comes together at that point.


How and why did your album Music for Scientists become a work of theater that’s now running at the Pershing Square Signature Center? That’s a really unusual journey. 


Yeah! Writing and recording and producing that album was immense, fun, and really interesting. We really didn’t cut any corners. You know, we had a full orchestra that we recorded in Nashville. And this was during COVID, too, so that represented all of its own challenges, but we had I think a 50, 60, 70 piece orchestra with it. All of the songs on that album constitute the fertile soil that the next stage would grow out of. We really only used one song from that album, in the show Emergence, and that was “Moons of Jupiter.” I wrote nine new songs to constitute the show. But that album laid out the DNA for what the following songs would be and how they might constitute a different kind of experience, not just an isolated sonic experience, but a visual experience and a community experience of that theatrical experience.


That leads really nicely into my next question– what is the sort of emotional experience you’re  hoping to create for your audience?


I would really love for people to just be plainly entertained, in the most superficial way. [And] I would hope people would experience some emotional movement. For them to be touched, or for them to have the music and the stage-theatrical experience, evoke an emotion from them. 

I’m really, really happy to report that, we go out into the lobby after every show and greet everyone as they’re leaving, and every single night, I get to hear people say [those] things: they feel it was so entertaining, and the show was really tight, and the choreo was great. And everything just kept moving, and they didn’t know what to expect next. And that there were periods of time in the show where people tell me they were really moved to tears. And it was just really beautiful. 

People tell me pretty regularly, “I never thought of this in that way. And I don’t think I’ll ever think of it the old way again. Now I see the world in this way.” So it’s not just my intention, but I really have the privilege of being able to have face to face contact with people as they’re leaving the theater. And they tell me [that] happens. And it’s wonderful! 


And you give them a tulip, which is also lovely. (Audience members are handed a tulip as they leave the theater.)


They get a tulip as well! Which is sort of an emblem of the show in many ways. It’s referenced in the show and has scientific meaning as well as, you know, just kind of a nice little practical thing to give people to memorialize the experience.


So what do you see as the importance of an artist, such as yourself, communicating science? Why is that important to you? Why does that matter?


It’s really fascinating because the word ‘science’ is loaded. It can mean so many different things to so many other people, you can say the word ‘science’ to someone on the street and who knows how they might react to that – it might be they have a sense of dread about physics exams that they had during college, or they feel like it’s really ‘mathy’ and something far away from them. Or it’s inscrutable, [like] “science is all about test tubes, and formulas and things I don’t understand.” 

I don’t think of science as any of that stuff. I think of science as the insight, the understanding into the nature of the universe. That’s what I care about. The scientific method and good research methodology lead to solid insights, but it’s the insights that I care about. And so when I think about science, what I think about is reality. That is our best human understanding of the nature of things. And science happens to be the most reliable tool for getting at that thing, but it’s that thing that I care about.


An element of the show that was really unique was Jordan Noltner’s lighting design. It had a sort of rock concert feel that I so rarely see onstage. And so I’d love to know how that unique visual was created. 


There’s no question Jordan Noltner is a gifted lighting designer. It has to do with the DNA of the show… a big part of what we are is a musical concert, and any rock concert that you would go to for any popular musician, they have extensive and dramatic lighting, and we felt that that would be fitting for what we’re doing here as well.


So you come from the music world. How is the theater schedule treating you? What’s your routine to do this show? Because this is a big sing.


Yeah, you know what I didn’t realize? Last night we finished our 62nd or 63rd show. And since a run of this length is very new to me, I did not understand just how taxing it is physically. I find I live a pretty quiet life outside of the show. And that’s necessary for me to summon all of the energy and explosive stuff that happens in the show. And then I go back home and recover and continue with my quiet life. So it does take a lot of sustained energy–I was surprised by how physically taxing a theatrical run like this is! But it is at the same time the most inspiring and most fun thing I think I’ve ever done in my life. So I will take the exertion, I’ll take all the beatings that come down the pipe, and I’ll keep doing this as long as we’re able to, because it is so exciting. And mostly it’s just about having contact with the audience after the show, when they can speak to me about their experience and that, more than anything else, just recharges my batteries for the next show.