When Christine Dwyer talks about her upcoming wedding to Matt DeAngelis, there’s one part that gives her the chills—and not in a cute way. “The thought of me in a dress, walking down the aisle and having people stare at me is literally my worst nightmare,” says Dwyer. Which is funny since she’ll be spending the entire next year wearing an array of frilly Victorian dresses in front of millions of people across the country as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the first national tour of Finding Neverland. Her trepidation makes sense when you consider that before being cast as the mannered mother of four, Dwyer attracted roles with a grittier, rocker aesthetic like Maureen in Rent. It’s one of the many things she has in common with DeAngelis who made his Broadway debut in Hair and has toured with American Idiot and Once.
DeAngelis proposed in August after just six months of dating. This might seem like a whirlwind romance to some, but Dwyer and DeAngelis’ love story has been a lifetime-in-the-making. Both hailing from Boston, they soon realized they attended the same pre-school and even went to the same parties without ever knowing each other. Starting their relationship was like coming home.
Congratulations on your engagement! You were only officially together for six months before you got engaged. It sounds like it has been quite the whirlwind romance!
Christine Dwyer: What’s weird is that I guess timing-wise it seems like that, but it doesn’t really feel that way.
Matt DeAngelis: We grew up in the same place. We’re both from Boston. Our parents literally live 11 minutes away from each other. We were friends with a brother and sister of the same family when we were both younger. We were at all the same parties and didn’t know each other.
That’s so crazy!
MD: Then we both went on to do stuff in New York, and we connected seven or eight years ago, peripherally. Then we reconnected a year-and-a-half ago and fell in love while helping each other through bad breakups.
CD: I mean we went to the same preschool. We have really crazy memories of the same places from when we were little kids. I’ve never in my adult life dated anyone from where I’m from, and there’s a comfort and general awareness of each others’ feelings that is completely different than any other relationship I’ve ever been in. There’s been this knowing thing between us since the beginning because of that reason.
So I guess it’s obvious that you’re going back to Boston to get married, right?
Can you share any wedding plans yet?
MD: We don’t have much. Right after [I proposed, Christine] started rehearsing for Finding Neverland. We know it’s going to be a Monday in April of 2018, although who knows. I could book another show, she could book another show, but that’s the framework right now.
CD: We have our venue at least.
MD: We’re getting married at a place called the Oceanview in Nahant, Massachusetts.
And you’re waiting until 2018?
CD: The thing that’s kind of crazy about going on tour is that there’s not really a ton of wedding planning I can do in terms of getting a dress and having those special moments that I want to have, so when I leave the tour [after a year] I’ll be able to really start that process.
You mentioned that you really reconnected over bad breakups...
MD: Well, we ran into each other at the “Broadway Sings Bruno Mars” concert. I’d never forgotten about her, but she was on tour when I was in the city and then I was on tour when she was on Broadway [playing Elphaba in] Wicked, so we were always friendly, but we were never around each other long enough to kick it. We are both the type of friends that take showing up for your friends really seriously. Then bad stuff started happening to both of us when I was on tour in Western Canada with Once, and we would Skype late at night and help each other through our problems.
If you’ve had a bad relationships while being tour in the past, is that scary having Christine go on tour or have you learned things from that experience?
MD: We’ve both had so many different experiences both single and not single on tour that you know what works and what doesn’t. Three weeks is the longest we’re going to go without seeing each other. We have a plan. We’re booking flights and we communicate really well, we trust each other, and we both understand the rigors of scheduling while being on the road. She was just in tech and it was hard not to talk to her as regularly as I do when she’s here, but I get it. She needed her time to do her thing.
CD: I’ve been in long-distance relationships before, but this one’s different because we have a definite plan for our future. We’re getting married, so the anxiety level of being away from your partner isn’t the same. There’s a settledness I feel that I hadn’t felt before.
Between the two of you, you must have so much tour knowledge!
CD: For all of my touring experience I have never been good at packing or planning ahead. He’s really good at that, so that’s helpful. I was much less stressed out about going on tour this time because he was like, “Okay, what do you actually need?”
MD: My biggest piece of advice that I always give to her is to use the hotel wake up calls but she doesn’t do it.
CD: I missed my flight on Sunday because I overslept.
MD: It’s a free service!
CD: Now I’m going to use them I think.
Also you both have worked with Diane Paulus and you recently posted an adorable photo of you guys catching up with her at the opening of the Finding Neverland tour in Buffalo.
CD: Diane gave Matt his Broadway debut, and she’s sort of relaunching my career in a completely different direction then I ever thought it could go, so it’s really cool. We both have her to thank for so much.
Matt, you are also good friends with Kevin Kern, who plays J.M. Barrie, right?
MD: I am! We spent six months doing Hair in London together, and it’s a miracle we didn’t end up on the steps of the embassy in handcuffs. Then when Kevin and Christine were both kind of [in talks] for the parts, Kevin Facetime-d us from his house in New Jersey, and he was like, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it work,”—he and his wife [Megan Lawrence] have four kids—“but trust me, Matt, there’s nothing I want to do more than makeout with your fiancée.” I was like, “That’s very reassuring Kevin. Thank you very much.”
CD: I’m sure that the jokes will continue throughout the tour.
MD: I also did Once with another guy in the ensemble, Matt Wolpe, and we went to college together, so I’ve known him for probably 13 years now.
It sounds like seeing them will be a fun bonus for you Matt when you go visit Christine.
MD: It’s not my show of course, but the coolest part for me when you do a show is that sense of community, especially on tour where everybody talks about the “tour bubble,” but now when I go out on the Finding Neverland tour, not only do I get to be with my actual best friend, who is Christine, but I feel like I have a community of people who are actually in my life. It makes the visit doubly as fun.
Matt, did you also get to see her play Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway?
MD: I sure did! It was the night that I [first] asked her to go out with me, and then it took her a month to say yes. I asked her out every day for a month.
No way! Christine, why did it take you so long to say yes?
CD: We’d been talking about it, and I just kept finding excuses. I didn’t want to ruin the friendship, and I was nervous. I’m an anxious person when it comes to that stuff, and I think I needed someone to be persistent with me. Once I realized it was what I wanted, which, okay maybe took a month, then our first date was the best date either of us had ever been on. It was magical and wonderful, but it just took me a second.
Matt was it seeing her in that green makeup that just pushed you over the edge?
CD: If you say yes I’m literally not marrying you.
MD: I have a fetish for green face paint. No truthfully though, my favorite thing about Christine as a friend, and as a performer, and as a partner is that she has the most incredible humanity of any person I’ve ever met. Even all this anxiety she talks about and her uncertainty about having people watch her and stuff is what makes her such a special performer. She’s a once in a generation storyteller, and she’s got one of the best voices [I’ve ever heard]. Any good actor will tell you that your humanity and your art are inextricably linked, and she’s a perfect example of that.
CD: I’m getting a little teary over here!