Hearts swelled in the land of Broadway—and beyond—when a video was released of photographer/filmmaker Daniel Robinson sneaking onto the Gershwin stage in a flying monkey suit and proposing to his now fiancé (and actual Wicked Flying Monkey), Josh Daniel Green.
Not just anyone can pull off wearing an official costume and gaining behind-the-scenes access at a Broadway show, but it helps that Robinson is embedded in the theatre community. He was a part of the Hairspray cast on Broadway and has been on stage and behind the camera at Broadway Bares for many years. Now that Robinson is concentrating more on film and photography, he and Green, who got his start in the concert dance scene before joining Wicked, regularly combine their talents to make beautiful, body-baring films and photos. A few months after their proposal-gone-viral, the couple explains how they have been able to capture on film their first meeting, their surprise engagement and many other amazing moments throughout their four-year relationship.
Daniel, you did the “bend and snap,” in front of Josh and it was a success! Can you explain how this Legally Blonde move worked in real life?
Daniel Robinson: I did! I would have never known! Thank you, Jerry Mitchell [director of Legally Blonde: The Musical].
Josh Daniel Green: We were rehearsing for the finale of a TV show [with Mark Stuart Dance Theatre] that never actually aired. Mark brought Daniel in to video the process and get some archival footage.
DR: I was really, really attracted to [Josh for me], but I thought he might be straight, so I was like, “Let me do this.” I put my camera on him and let it film then I dropped something and bent over. It was a classic bend and snap. Then I ran home as fast as possible and checked the footage to see if he looked. He looked, and I did a little dance in my living room. When Mark Stuart came over to pick up the footage, he actually wrote the first Facebook message [to Josh] because I was too chicken shit.
JDG: It was a very professional message, like, “I really enjoyed meeting you and if you have any shows coming up let me know.” I thought that was a networking thing so I responded, “Well, I have a show on this date…” Then I got a message back, which was actually from Daniel and it said, “I actually think you’re really handsome and would you like to have a meal sometime.” He said “meal.”
DR: And then four years later…
A proposal! I love watching the video of you guys getting engaged on the Wicked stage in monkey suits, but I have a couple of logistical questions: Daniel, how on earth did you get a flying monkey suit?
JDG: He orchestrated some magic behind the scenes.
DR: Yeah, it was fun. It was like a seven-month process. I had to go through all the channels: company management, stage management, producers, all of that. I had fittings—and they actually ended up putting me in his old suit because we are the same size. I thought that was fitting.
While watching the video, I noticed that some of the cast members started hugging each other after you got engaged. Your proposal inspired love!
DR: Totally. Every time we watched it we would watch a different person’s reaction. It was so moving. When you’re in a situation like that, and you’re doing your job, it’s hard to be in that moment. You just think, “I want to get out of the costume and go home,” but to see that kind of love come back at you was really inspiring. It was a wonderful moment, and I’m so, so happy to have that [on film].
JDG: When I went back to the dressing room, everyone was just screaming.
How is the wedding planning going? Have you guys started?
DR: Not really. We’re not really in a rush, but at least we know we want to do it.
Judging by your Instagram feeds (@drobprod and @joshdgreen), you two are not afraid to get naked! You have a very sexual aesthetic. Was that the case for both of you beforehand or do you bring that more revealing side out in each other?
DR: As we’ve been together it’s definitely grown. I do Broadway Bares every year…
JDG: And he’s pulled me into it.
DR: [Broadway Bares] has given me a lot of amazing gifts and mantras for my own life. A big mantra for both of us is being shameless and being comfortable with yourself, and with your body, and not apologizing. I think a lot of gay men grow up with shame because they’re told that what you are is wrong, so we’re expressing our thoughts on that, and we want to to inspire other people to be confident and love their body and love themselves, and let them know that it’s ok to be sexual and sensual. That’s what’s great about our relationship: We can support each other in that, and there’s no pointing fingers or shaming or guilting. We continue to empower one another and I think it’s infectious.
JDG: One of our first creative projects together was actually a dance film on my rooftop in Williamsburg. I think that’s part of how we connected on a deeper level—by making those films. I think that was the start of opening up, being vulnerable and surrendering.
DR: We like to capture those moments. When we go on vacation we usually make a film or take photos. I remember seeing [Josh perform] and going, “Gosh, he is the most perfect dancer. I have to film him.” He inspires me to work harder and to be the best I can for that.
Daniel, what is it like for you to film Josh? Josh, what is it like to be filmed by someone so close to you? Is it easy because you can just let your guard down in front of this person that you love?
DR: We try to be present and we try not to shape anything. The first time I filmed him, we decided we were not going to judge anything that we were doing and just allow it to be. There were no wrongdoings; there were no wrong movements. Everything was fine, and that’s how we live our life.
JDG: It is a vulnerable experience, but it is very freeing and it’s also a very focused moment where it feels like time has stopped. Having Daniel behind the camera is very different from having someone that I don’t know. There is an element of trust, in that he trusts me, as well. We were [filming] in Joshua Tree [National Park] this past January, and there was a point where we started doing some improvisation. I just started climbing these rocks and he started following me, and was like, “Keep going.”
DR: It’s kind of like life, though. If one person is leading the way you have to know that you have to go, and that’s it’s ok.
Daniel, you were on Broadway in Hairspray, and I saw a performance you did for the Broadway and Ballet HERO awards where you were singing while Josh was dancing. Does this mean there are more collaborations like this in the works?
JDG: That live performance really opened our eyes to performing on stage together and what we can do with that.
DR: I’ve been taking [dance] class again, so I’m feeling a little more physical, and we’ve been talking about doing a text monologue performance where we do a speaking dance kind of thing, so it definitely opens up things.
Is creating together how you romantically bond? Or, is it more about cuddling on the couch or going on a date?
JDG: I think it’s all of those things. Creating together really feeds us. There’s always life, like the eight-show-a-week schedule and all of his clients, so sometimes all we really want to do is sit around. We went out for sushi the other night and it was great because we got to just sit there and enjoy each other, but the creating—that’s what feeds us the most in the end.
DR: We’re also trying to take more vacations now. It’s funny we spend so much time together, so I feel like we don’t create enough, but I guess when you look at it from the other end we’re probably creating a lot.
JDG: I think we do well.
DR: We do. It’s a perfect balance. You get to create together, dream together, play together, sleep together, eat together—I think it’s the perfect relationship.