In November 2007, Emily Kaczmarek and dozens of added high-school acceptance from throughout the country met with several Supreme Court justices in Washington. Among them was Justice Anthony Kennedy.
“Why is bigotry wrong?” Justice Kennedy asked the students. The students, all acclimatized overachievers, struggled to devise impressive, circumlocutory responses.
No, no, he said. Not complicated. “Discrimination is amiss because it makes bodies feel bad,” he said.
Ms. Kaczmarek, a strong-willed, affable student, who as a youngster in Phoenix handed out envelopes absolute cash, advice on chargeless commons and abode to bodies active on the streets, began singing at 4 years old afterwards seeing “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” She played arch macho roles in “Hamlet” and “Scrooge” at the all-girls St. Mary Academy Bay View in Rhode Island. Afterwards admission from N.Y.U., she absitively she would sing for a active and address as a hobby.
One day in May 2015, she accustomed an email from a theater-producer friend, Rachel Sussman.
The email alien Ms. Kaczmarek, the playwright, and Zoe Sarnak, the songwriter. In the apple of New York theater, area anybody knows addition who knows addition who knows someone, Ms. Sussman — “the abiding adapter of all acceptable people,” said a acquaintance — knew Ms. Sarnak was attractive for a librettist, or arena and chat writer, for a abbreviate agreeable on which she was alive for the New York Film Academy. She acquainted that Ms. Kaczmarek, who had aback angry her amusement into her living, ability be the actuality Ms. Sarnak needed.
A ages later, they met.
Ms. Kaczmarek, accustomed a afresh printed résumé, accustomed for the affair in circumscribed atramentous pants, heels, and a dress shirt topped with a blazer. Business casual.
Ms. Sarnak appeared, waist-length coiled beard decrepit bottomward her aback from a moments-ago shower, cutting M.C. Hammer-style harem pants, cast flops and a flannel shirt. Dive-bar casual.
In the acute moment of that meeting, Ms. Kaczmarek, ever-linear and logical, dissected the situation.
“Maybe she’s a swimmer?” (no, but Ms. Sarnak did comedy soccer for Harvard) and “Do I attending like I’m aggravating too hard?”
“Hey!” Ms. Sarnak said, to draw Ms. Kaczmarek from her anxiety-ridden reverie, “What are we activity to make?”
Affable, curious, and as a child, acutely precocious, Ms. Sarnak began autograph music in average academy in Princeton, N.J. “She was consistently the smartest one in the class,” said Annie Knickman Plancher, a longtime friend. At Harvard, Ms. Sarnak majored in atomic and cellular biology, and acclimatized on accomplishing science for a active and authoritative music for fun.
But chords kept bustling into her head. The summer amid inferior and chief years, while alive at Harvard Medical School’s lab, she ran experiments, set a timer, again raced over to the abandoned abode she knew that had a piano. There, until the experiment’s delay time was done, she wrote music. Aback and alternating anniversary day she went, allure and chords affairs her this way and that, until she accelerating and said to her parents, “give me a brace of years in New York and we’ll see how it goes.”
The two began alive together, until Ms. Sarnak acquainted safe abundant with Ms. Kaczmarek to appearance her a agreeable she had accounting that was aing to her heart. The musical, “Afterwords,” begin a alive home at their corresponding apartments, both in Harlem. While alive on it, they fell in love.
“We would go into abstracted accommodation and she would assignment on a song and I would assignment on a arena and again we would accept candy and a alcohol and those sessions would go until 2 in the morning,” Ms. Kaczmarek said. “And back I didn’t appetite her to leave I said, ‘O.K., something’s activity on here.”
They apparent they admired abundant of the aforementioned music, from Sara Bareilles and Brandi Carlile to “Ragtime” and “Rent.” They absolved the burghal for hours, acceptable anniversary addition they would alight at the aing alms stop, abandoned to skip it to abide the conversation.
One day, Ms. Kaczmarek apprehend a admired commodity to Ms. Sarnak, an affectionate piece, “Joyas Voladoras,” about hummingbirds and heartbeats by Brian Doyle. “It was one of those accurate moments of me actuality vulnerable, and she was aloof accepting it, back commodity abstract is accepted by two bodies and there’s a whoa!” Ms. Kaczmarek said.
Ms. Sarnak marveled at how Ms. Kaczmarek could access a affair alive no one and leave alive aloof about everyone.
On June 6, 2016, afterwards Ms. Kaczmarek’s altogether affair at Harlem’s At the Wallace, they landed abandoned at her apartment. “You could cut the astriction with a knife,” Ms. Kaczmarek said. As they sat on the sofa, finally, they kissed.
Ms. Sarnak was 25 back she came out as a lesbian. Alike admitting “it’s a alarming affair to do for anybody, amphitheater bodies in New York accomplish up one of the best assorted and accessible communities,” she said. “And I accord my parents a lot of credit: They never fabricated me feel bad or feel fear. There was a lot of amplitude in my claimed and able activity in New York to be who I capital to be.”
They discussed their attraction, the appulse it ability accept on their collaboration.
“I said to Emily, ‘Well, it would either aloof be a blend or we would be calm forever,’” Ms. Sarnak said.
They worried. Was their affair unprofessional?
They had their ambitions. Broadway’s alleys echoed with the assignment of added duos: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Lerner and Loewe. All men. It is difficult, if not impossible, to acquisition a duo of changeable agreeable ability on Broadway. Actuality they were, on the bluff of agreeable history, and they had collapsed off it, into love.
In abatement 2016, they alleged the ambassador of “Afterwords,” Ashley DeSimone, and asked her to meet. Back Ms. DeSimone accustomed at Indie, a restaurant in the Lincoln Center complex, assured a business meeting, they were squirming in their seats, all-overs arching their eyebrows.
“I said, ‘What’s wrong?’” Ms. DeSimone recalled. “And they said, ‘We’re dating.’ They were sheepish. They had a bartering ambassador abaft the work; they were aggravating to do the appropriate thing.”
“I told them I anticipation it was awesome.”
Ms. Kaczmarek confused into Ms. Sarnak’s accommodation in bounce 2017. Calm they tucked adulation addendum into anniversary other’s suitcases, befriended the bartenders at the Grange in Harlem, and began architecture a retro-record accumulating that included the Indigo Girls, the Beatles and Elvis Costello.
Collaboratively, they absitively to get married. On a Thursday in October 2017, Ms. Sarnak beatific Ms. Kaczmarek off to New York locations that captivated acceptation for the couple. At anniversary location, a acquaintance would accost Ms. Kaczmarek and accord her a gift. Flowers in a ablaze yellow-orange, Ms. Kaczmarek’s admired color. A box of cannoli. A collage. At the aftermost stop, at the bend of Sixth Avenue and 13th Street, Ms. Sarnak proposed.
The aing day, Ms. Kaczmarek took Ms. Sarnak to Grand Ferry Esplanade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. On a barbecue absolute in the park, confined glasses of albino and pounds and pounds of crudité because Ms. Sarnak eats raw vegetables in quantities that would apple-pie out a summer acreage stand, Ms. Kaczmarek proposed to the strains of jackhammers — “New York actuality New York,” Ms. Kaczmarek said later. They absolved over to a bar, Videology. There, Ms. Kaczmarek played a video for Ms. Sarnak of accompany and ancestors from throughout the apple congratulating the pair.
Like every acceptable agreeable story, their collaboration-turned-romance had its moment of truth: Would their assignment calm be better, or worse, than their assignment alone?
A few months afterwards their engagement, in February of this year, the acknowledgment arrived. “Afterwords” had won a award-winning that musical-theater makers covet, a Jonathan Larson grant, which was called to approach the architect of the Broadway blockbuster, “Rent.”
The American Amphitheater Wing, which produces the Tony Awards, administers the grant; winners frequently acreage on Broadway.
“Zoe writes the music, Emily writes the book — the chat — and endemic is such a abundant archetype of collaboration, area the accomplished is abundant greater than the sum of the parts,” Ms. DeSimone said.
On Aug. 26, the two women, animated and blithe in acceptable white, were affiliated by Mary Carmel Kaczmarek, Ms. Kaczmarek’s aunt and a Universal Activity minister. Ms Sarnak’s cousin, Jonathan Polonsky assisted in the ceremony, which took abode afore 160 bodies at the Brooklyn Winery, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Just moments before, Conrad Kaczmarek, Ms. Kaczmarek’s brother, had stepped up to the lectern to apprehend the words of Justice Kennedy, accounting as the final branch of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
“As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, alliance embodies a adulation that may abide alike accomplished death,” he read. “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they dness the abstraction of marriage. Their appeal is that they do account it, account it so acutely that they seek to acquisition its accomplishment for themselves. Their achievement is not to be accursed to alive in loneliness, afar from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for according address in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Both brides’ eyes abounding with tears.
Their admirers exploded in cheers.
ON THIS DAY
When Aug. 26, 2018
Where Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sunshine Amid Raindrops Tears fell bottomward Pete Kaczmarek’s face as his babe appear his arm to angle at the makeshift chantry beside Ms. Sarnak. A half-hour later, afterwards the allowance had austere and agents was ambience up for the reception, he talked about the wedding. “A man asked me afresh if I was giving abroad my daughter,” Mr. Kaczmarek said, through added tears, admitting now smiling. “No, no, I told him. I’m accepting a benefit babe instead.”
Brides in White Ms. Sarnak and Ms. Kaczmarek both chose acceptable white and ivory for their bells with analogous silver-speckled lace-up flats. Ms. Kaczmarek wore a V-neck Carol Hannah Nolita dress with a abounding brim in satin-faced organza; Ms. Sarnak wrote a BHLDN wide-legged jumpsuit and BHLDN ache maxi. “I didn’t apperceive my matchmaking abilities continued above theater,” said Rachel Sussman, the amphitheater ambassador who initially affiliated the couple. “It was the cosmos that did it. I aloof hopped in to advice them acquisition anniversary other.”
Words in Waiting Afterwards acceptable the Jonathan Larson Award, the comedy Ms. Sarnak and Ms. Kaczmarek wrote together, “Afterwords,” was apparent at the Village Theater’s Festival of New Musicals, and was work-shopped at the Village Theater’s Beta Series in February for 10 performances. It is now in development, “aiming for both Off Broadway and Broadway,” Ms. DeSimone said.
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