“We love margaritas. We love wine,” says Cortney Wolfson. “We are Mexican food addicts,” adds her husband, Curtis Holbrook. The Holbrooks definitely know how to unwind and share a cocktail on their enviable Manhattan patio or a spicy tequila-filled dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant, but they deserve it. They can work 14-hour days, running their headshot business, Curtis & Cort Photography, by day and performing at night.
Wolfson has been a part of the Kinky Boots cast for over two years and Holbrook, who was last seen on Broadway in If/Then, will return to the Great White Way in The Spongebob Musical, after its out-of-town tryout in Chicago this June. The hardworking and fun-loving couple explains how they knew they’d be together forever after playing opposite each other on The Addams Family tour, and how they plan to recreate their first dates in Chicago this summer.
We interviewed Hamilton’s Ariana DeBose and her girlfriend Jill Johnson last year, and they had just come from your wedding in Indiana. They said they had so much fun! What was it like?
Cortney Wolfson: We actually got married at my parents’ house in Indiana [last September]. We were like [our friends] are not going to know what to do with all these cornfields! We weren’t sure if people were going to be able to make it because it’s so far, but they were like, “It’s vacation!” It was so fun.
Were there a lot of theatre people there?
Curtis Holbrook: There were! Or as our officiant, Douglas Sills, likes to call them: carnies or show folk. We had it on a Monday, so we could have our friends there that were in shows. A lot of people from If/Then came, and some people that I did West Side Story and All Shook Up with were there as well.
CW: All but two people in our wedding party [were theatre people].
CH: When you get a bunch of show folk together in the middle of nowhere they feel like they can really go crazy, so it really became what we wanted, which was just people celebrating. People literally did not leave the dance floor. There was a conga line of people doing tour jetes and jump splits.
I’m obsessed with that scene.
CW: I did a jump split in my wedding dress on the dance floor.
CH: I was doing full on piroutte fouette combinations.
CW: It was just so funny because you have all the people from Indiana who have never seen anything like this in their lives and then literally a line of people in a dance off. I have pictures of people laying on their stomachs doing the worm. It was awesome.
That sounds so fun! I also love that you guys have a business together. How did Curtis & Cort Photography get started?
CH: I had starting shooting headshots about ten years ago, but I had never really been fully committed to it. When Cortney and I started dating, I saw that she had such a natural ability for makeup and was so good with people, which is a huge part of what we do, so I had this idea to form this company. At first I just thought the name was so cool: Curtis & Cort.
CW: He needed a makeup artist. When you work with a makeup artist you never worked with before there’s the getting to know you between the photographer and the makeup artist and then also the getting to know you with the client. He thought it would be nice to work with someone who he already knew. When I booked Kinky Boots I had over a month before I started rehearsals so I found a makeup school that I could finish before Kinky Boots. I went, and I loved it. Then about six months later we started guinea-pigging on our friends and we really loved it, but we had only been together like eight months at that point. It was interesting, when Curtis and I started dating it was this unspoken knowledge that we were going to be together forever, and we built this whole business plan assuming that it was all going to work out. It obviously did, but we just never [questioned it]. I actually think it helped our relationship, because we kind of had to learn how to be business partners first.
CH: We get to create together, too, which is pretty awesome. When we look at an image we created together, we’re like, “Wow. We did that.” Something I’ve always said—Cortney’s going to be like, “Oh God I’ve heard this a million times”—but I think that for relationships to really work in the long term you need to be creating goals together at all times, and the business has really really helped us in that way.
That makes a lot of sense.
CH: Also, with the business that we’re in, you’re always focused on working on yourself. You have to be selfish in that world, but that can be troublesome for a relationship. I think it’s super important to always be focused on something together, so that we’re not creating goals separately that eventually lead you apart.
What is your plan to stay connected while Curtis is in Chicago for the premiere of The Spongebob Musical?
CW: I’ve already booked my plane ticket for the opening. We like to plan it out. We make a map for everything. I am so Type A and organized. I think the most we won’t see each other is two to three weeks tops.
CH: When we first started dating, three years ago, I was doing a show in Chicago, and when you’re newly dating and someone gets a job and they go out of town for seven weeks, you’re like, “Maybe I’ll see you once, or maybe I’ll see you in seven weeks.”
CW: And I like lived with you!
CH: She would come see me, and we would be online booking the next flight.
CW: It was awesome.
CH: There was one time that you came out for a weekend and I was like, “You know what? I miss you too much,” and I flew her back out the week after that.
CW: It was also so close to my family and I was unemployed at the time, which made it really easy. We’re making plans for my family to come out and see him [in June]. It’s going to be a very exciting time.
CH: We get to revisit all the places where we were getting to know each other, and we’re excited for that. It’ll feel so different this time.
That’s so romantic! Speaking of when you first started dating, you mentioned that you pretty much knew right away that you’d get married. Can you explain how that happened?
CH: It was kind of a long road. Cortney was doing The Addams Family on Broadway. I came into the show for only about ten shows as an emergency medical replacement, and I noticed Cortney during that time. I can be a pretty quiet guy in new groups, so we didn’t talk that much, but we got our wigs on at the same time, right next to each other. I would always overhear her conversations and observe her, and I was like, “Who is this girl? She’s awesome!”
CW: Curtis told me this and I was like, “We got our wigs on at the same time?”
CH: And she crushed my soul.
CW: It was just not on my radar at all at the time.
CH: It was so short and we were both unavailable at the time so I didn’t even think anything of it. I was just like, “That girl’s awesome, and whoever she’s with is really lucky.”
CW: We didn’t meet again for a long time. I left the show after almost a year and then I went on [The Addams Family] tour. A year after that Curtis replaced somebody on tour, and we ended up playing opposite each other as Wednesday and Lucas. We were only on tour together for two months, but we became really good friends. I told all my girlfriends that Curtis Holbrook was my new best friend, and all my girlfriends were like, “Okaaay.” They didn’t say anything at the time, but at our wedding they were like, “Sure you were just good friends,” but I was so happy to have outside energy on that long of a tour, and somebody that I related to. We kept in touch after he left. Then I was going home to my parents house and he was coming through Chicago in Oklahoma! and I went to see him and stayed for a few days. That’s when the lightbulb went off. I think it was there the whole time, but it just wasn’t the right situation. We were either with other people, or not in the same city. It just never lined up, and then finally when it did line up it was immediate; there were fireworks, and we knew.
CH: It was like, “Let’s start a business. Let’s have babies. Let’s do everything.” It was like, “Alright, we’re doing this.”