For 25 years Christopher Sieber has been making audiences laugh playing outlandish Broadway characters like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Lord Farquadt in Shrek the Musical, Sir Dennis Galahad in Monty Python's Spamalot and currently Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical — which is why it's so nice to hear his husband Kevin Burrows make him laugh. A lot. They've been together for 13 years and while they are perfectly in sync, their marriage seems as fresh as a Schmackary's cookie. They crack each other up remembering the early details of their relationship — meeting in the cast of Beauty and the Beast, their first (friendly) kiss and secretly holding hands at Batboy the Musical.
A dancer in Broadway shows like Beauty and the Beast, Hello, Dolly! and The Full Monty, Burrows retired from the stage several years ago to pursue another passion: cooking. But no, that does not mean he has a gourmet meal waiting when Sieber returns to the couple's New Jersey lake house after a show. Below, Sieber and Burrows let Playbill.com in on the secrets of their long-lasting romance and why they won't perform a duet anytime soon.
Kevin, you and Christopher met on Broadway while you were both in the cast of Beauty and the Beast. Why did you decide to leave the stage to become a chef?
Kevin Burrows: I was primarily a dancer, and five or six years ago — once I rounded the 40-year-old mark — I was holding my body together with bubble gum and Band-Aids. It was harder to try to get myself back and up and ready to perform then it was worth. My only other passion in life was cooking and entertaining, so I went back to culinary school. Now I'm doing food styling for television.
Christopher Sieber: He's on "The Wendy Williams Show."
That's a great gig!
KB: It's live TV, so there's still that feeling of: "The show must go on." It satisfies the performance aspect of my life that I thought I was giving up. When you were in the same show together, were you worried about starting a relationship?
KB: Yes. It's a cardinal rule. Even though we were interested in each other we didn't actually start dating until I had given my closing notice.
CS: It was funny. It was so obvious that we were into each other. On my birthday, before we started dating, Kevin came up to my dressing room at Beauty and the Beast and gave me a kiss. It was a friendly kiss that was just a millisecond longer then normal. It wasn't in your face — nothing like that, but there was something about it… I was totally Marcia Brady after Davy Jones kisses her. It was just like, "Oh. My. God!" It literally changed my life. Then he was cast in the tour of The Full Monty, and the second he got that job we said, "Let's date!"
Did you say anything to Kevin about the kiss after it happened?
CS: No I didn't say anything then, but a few days later I was like, "I'm sorry, I don't know what you did to me, but that kiss changed me."
Kevin, do you think you were more motivated to get a new job so you could date Christopher?
KB: We had worked together for four months at that point, so we had developed an amazing friendship. I was sad to not be able to hang out with him at the theatre everyday, but I'd been in the show for over three years at that point and I was really itching to move on to something else. There was also the perk that I would have the freedom to date him.
CS: We became really close friends before we started dating, so all that dirt that normally comes out after you start a relationship was already out — warts and all.
KB: There was no first or second date where you sit awkwardly like "So, where did you grow up? What are your interests?" We never had to deal with any of that because we were already friends.
What did you do then for your first date? How did you make the transition from friends to more then friends?
CS: We were invited to a dress rehearsal for Batboy the Musical and a lot of people from our cast were there. Kevin had already given notice at Beauty and the Beast, but we didn't want anyone to know yet. We were trying to hold hands in this weird way that no one could see.
KB: We thought we were so covert, but a month or so after I'd left, everyone else in the cast was like, "Oh, you've got to be kidding me. We were very aware that you guys had already started dating. You're hilarious if you think we didn't know." Everyone knew.
CS: We even made sure to walk into Batboy separately. We were working so hard. We were like, "Oh, you're sitting next to me? How weird is that?"
It sounds like you might be better actors on stage.
CS: Yes, definitely. Kevin, do you make sure to see every show Christopher is in?
CS: He comes to opening nights and then I force him to see the show at least two more times. He'll argue that he's already seen it, but I'll say, "Yeah, but I'm funnier now."
KB: I always enjoy the show. I get very nervous the first time I see him.
CS: He saw Matilda before I was in it so that he could see the entire show. He gets so nervous watching me that he doesn't know what's happening. I've been doing this for 25 years. I think I know what I'm doing.
KB: With Matilda in particular there are a lot of physically demanding parts that I get nervous watching him do. I wanted to see the show without him so that I could get to know the show first.
CS: I did a one-man show at Birdland two or three years ago, and I'd never done anything like that before. After the show Kevin was like, "I need a drink now." Then he finally took a breath. He was so nervous for me.
KB: I had to take a Xanax before the show.
Kevin, it sounds like you get more nervous then Christopher…
KB: I do.
CS: I like to kind of throw it out there and see what happens [onstage]. And he's like, "Oh my God, you're going to fly without a net."
Do you ever sing or dance together at home?
CS: No, if I start doing that Kevin will roll his eyes and go into another room. That's the funny thing. I'll tell people that my husband's a chef, and they're like, "Wow! What does he make at home?" Nothing! Our refrigerator is filled with condiments and spoiled milk. He cooks for me once or twice a year.
KB: You're making me out to be a monster!
Is it easier to have a relationship now that you have different careers?
KB: Not necessarily. Now we're on really different schedules. When I have a segment on the show I'm up at 4:30 AM and out the door at 5 AM. And we live in New Jersey, almost an hour outside the city, so when he's got an 8 PM curtain he doesn't get home until midnight.
CS: And he's in bed by 9 PM.
KB: I think it's the easiest when you're both performing and you're on the same time schedule.
What do you do for fun when you do have time together?
KB: In the summertime we always have friends out for weekends at a time. We have an entire house that's just our guest house. We also have a very nice group of friends out here in New Jersey. We love to entertain.
CS: We live on a lake. Summertime is amazing out here. Do you see a lot of Broadway shows?
CS: We go to a lot of opening nights in the spring. You get to wear really cool suits and watch a fabulous play or a musical, which is great.
Any tips for walking the red carpet as a couple?
CS: Kevin why don't you take this question?
KB: I don't do it.
CS: He hates it so much. There are a lot of pictures of just me on opening night. He's already at the bar or sitting down in the theatre waiting for me.
KB: My job is to go get his drink. We do know a lot of the photographers and they will come up and take pictures of us, but not on the actual red carpet. I like to let him shine and have his moment to do his thing.
CS: He's very elusive, this Kevin Burrows.
You've been together for 13 years. What has been the hardest time period in your relationship so far?
KB: Without a doubt, it was when Christopher opened Spamalot in London and I was on the West Coast doing the Spamalot national tour. We would be able to talk on the phone once a day when I woke up and the sun had already gone down in London. That was tough.
CS: When he was waking up, I was on my way to the theatre. We had a window of about 45 minutes to Skype and that lasted for about six or seven months.
It's probably nice when Christopher is in a hit show on Broadway.
KB: When he gets a long-running show like Matilda, it's a blessing and a curse. It's great that he has long-term employment, but then it's six months before he gets any time off. We've always joked that the best way to land a really good paying job is to book and a pay for a non-refundable vacation.
CS: We've done that a couple of times. We had to cancel first-class round-trip tickets to Hawaii because I got a TV pilot.
Kevin, what's your favorite show that Chris has ever been in?
KB: It would have to be Spamalot with the original company. There was magic on stage.
You recently celebrated your three-year wedding anniversary. Did you notice a change in your relationship after you made it official?
CS: It's kind of hard to explain, but I felt like I loved him more. There is a feeling that comes with it — it's freeing. I feel more relaxed. He's mine now!
KB: It actually hasn't felt that different to me. I always felt married, but we didn't have the option before.
CS: Thank you?
KB: I mean, we would have gotten married 10 years ago if we had had the opportunity.
CS: Basically we're not going anywhere. We're done. We found that thing.