Ten years ago today, I was in a Hudson Shakespeare production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” Their Verges had dropped out. Duncan, who was playing Dogberry, recommended me as a replacement.
The woman playing Beatrice was someone I’d met a few times before. The first time I met her, she’d auditioned for an improv troupe I was in. She did not get cast. The second time, I auditioned for a role in a production of “The Fantasticks” that she was assistant directing. I did not get cast.
But now we were cast together, and we were getting to know each other quite well. There were a few knowing glances. A few casual hand touches. Some definite sparks.
One sunny afternoon after rehearsal, this woman… let’s call her Paula… stated that she was going to the Newport Center Mall after rehearsal to buy a new jean jacket. So desperate was I to spend more time with her that I volunteered to go with her. As we departed the mall and were about to go our separate ways, she suggested we stop at Starbucks for a frappuccino. We drank our frappuccinos by the Hudson River piers at Newport. We made small talk. Small talk became deep talk. Suddenly, we began to kiss.
“Are you asking me out?” she asked.
“Yes, I am.” I replied.
“Well you’d better do it right.”
I officially asked her out on a date.
On that date, ten years ago tonight, we had dinner at Da Rosina on Restaurant Row and then went to see Brian Stokes Mitchell in “Kiss Me Kate.” It was torrentially raining when we met, so we had to hide for a while under the awning of the church in which they were doing “Tony and Tina’s Wedding.” But that evening after “Kiss Me Kate” the weather was clear enough for us to walk over to Bryant Park and make out.
Yes, technically our wedding anniversary is the more important one. But I will never forget the night ten years ago, when I had a spectacularly successful first date with the love of my life.