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A Broadway Couple Says ‘I Do’ To Huge Appreciation

Before the Omicron surge caused dozens to drop the wedding guest list of Bryan Terrell Clark and Devario D. Simmons, it was shut down. “Thoughts of a Person of Color,” The Broadway show sees Mr. Clark as a star and Mr. Simmons as a costume designer. Mr. Clark hates not having the opportunity to make one last bow with his co-stars. But he had his last bow as a single man to look forward to.

“From day one, there was never a question in my mind that I had to marry this man,” he said.

Mr. Clark, 41, met Mr. Simmons, 31, on December 10, 2019. Mr. Clark’s best friend, Rodrick Covington, may have been responsible. Earlier that month, Mr. Covington pointed out that Mr. Clark, who at the time was playing George Washington in the Broadway production of “Hamilton”, had become a familiar Tinder-swiper.

“What are you looking for?” Mr. Clark said. “He asked me to describe the man of my dreams.” Mr. Covington then asked if Mr. Clark had any friends willing to play the matchmaker. When Mr Clark said he had done so, Mr Covington advised him to delete his Tinder app immediately.

Mr. Clark said: “Rodrick is a strong performer. On December 9, 2019, while Mr. Clark dined at Amy Ruth’s in Harlem with actor Stephen Conrad Moore, Mr. Covington’s expression began to take shape.

“Stephen said he knows a great costume designer,” said Mr. Clark, who then asked to see a painting and was shown one by Mr. Simmons. He had the physical qualities of the man of Mr. Clark’s dream: Mr. Simmons looked fit, “like a custodian of his temple,” said Mr. Clark, who recalls telling Mr. Moore that , in terms of personality, “I was looking for someone with a good spirit and a good communicator. “

That evening, Mr. Moore introduced the two men on Instagram, writing as Mr. Simmons recalls, “’Hey gentlemen, I think you’re both great people and the two of you should connect.’ ‘ “Thank you. I’m sure we’ll launch you soon so we can connect privately.”

The next night, they met at Hell’s Kitchen, a restaurant in Manhattan. Mr. Simmons, who at the time was making costumes for the Off Broadway show “Tumacho,” lived nearby. Mr. Clark, who lives in Los Angeles, temporarily resides on the Upper West Side for “Hamilton.” A sense of connection quickly came to them.

“It doesn’t have to be the kind where as soon as you see the person you see fireworks,” Mr Clark said. “It was like I felt like I already knew him. It’s too easy. ”

Both men have experienced difficult relationships. Mr. Clark grew up in Baltimore with a younger brother and sister. As he neared adolescence, he began to understand that his father, George Clark, a factory worker, had a drug problem. “He was a source of turbulent energy in and out of our lives,” Mr. Clark said.

His parents divorced in 2002, the same year that George Clark, who still lives in Baltimore, was chaste. The father and son reunited soon after. Now, “my dad is one of my best friends,” said Clark, who also tells his mother, Tanya Young, a retired elementary school principal and pastor who lives in Decatur, Ill. , Among his closest friends. But coming to her in her early 20s was difficult.

“My father told me what every son wants to hear, which is, ‘I love you unconditionally,’” he said. But when Brother Clark first discussed his sexuality with his mother, a former Sunday school teacher at a non-denominational church, after he graduated from Temple University in 2003, “she said,” I was struggling with my belief system,” he recalls. . She was still wrestling when he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama, where he earned a master’s degree in acting in 2006, and continued quite well after Mr. Clark’s Broadway career began when he was cast. cast as Marvin Gaye in “Motown the Musical” in 2013.

“My mother didn’t fully accept it until we got married,” he says.

Mr. Simmons’ youth in Greenville, SC, was marked by the death of his father, Raymond Simmons, in a motorcycle accident when he was 7. “It changed my life in ways I couldn’t. imaginable,” he said. “I have to grow up immediately.”

He was raised with his sister and younger brother by his mother, Kimeco Williams, who owned a local hair salon, and grandmother, Helena C. Williams. Being the oldest gives him a position of power that he often feels is not available. “I had to make a lot of choices that I wouldn’t have to make if my dad were there,” he said.

The choice that came at 21 – just before he graduated from Clemson University in 2013 – was just as difficult for Mr Simmons as it was for Mr Clark. Mr Simmons, who earned a master’s degree in costume design from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016, said: “I come from that part of the country, I’ve always been taught that being gay is wrong and bad. Her grandson three times a day from her home in Greenville, “was instrumental in helping me get my work out,” he said.

Mr. Simmons and Mr. Clark both understood the value of honest conversation before they even met. But everyone has a hard time getting there, not just with their parents, but with previous spouses. So when they went to the restaurant for their first date, their plans, already established, came together.

“A lot of people try to hide everything on first dates,” Mr. Simmons said. “I showed up with the attitude, nothing is taboo.” For example, “I was fine talking about how I want to have children in the future.” Mr. Clark is fine with that too.

Simmons when his six-week run in “Hamilton” ends in February 2020, and he plans to be in Vancouver filming a role on the TV show. “Snowpiercer”. The pair became inseparable as Mr. Clark’s acting schedule allowed, and “Snowpiercer,” along with the next tour Clark had booked, would mean weeks apart.

However, soon they were back together. In March 2020, as epidemic Aware of the situation in the country, Mr. Clark, who by that time had returned home to Los Angeles, invited Mr. Simmons to come quarantine with him. “It could be a nightmare,” Mr Clark said. “I invited someone I’ve only been dating for a few months to come stay with me for what we thought would be a few weeks.” Instead, they stayed together at Mr. Clark’s house for five months.

One summer morning in 2020, Mr. Clark woke up without Mr. Simmons by his side. He found him in the kitchen. “Devario never really cooked in New York, but he was there, making breakfast,” he said. “He’s from South Carolina – he’s making crab cakes and crushed ice. That’s the day I started looking for rings.”

As of December 31, 2020, Mr. Clark and Mr. Simmons have both returned to work. This time, Mr. Clark is in Canada filming a role in the Disney+ movie “Sneakerella.” Mr. Simmons of Greenville, teaches remotely at Ithaca College, where he is an assistant professor in the theater department. To celebrate New Year’s Eve, Mr. Clark arranged a boat party for dozens of friends in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he and Mr. Simmons will be reunited.

At midnight, they both have their feet in the sea and drink Champagne. Before Mr. Simmons had a chance to sip his wine, Mr. Clark dropped to his knees and proposed. Mr. Simmons gasped, and uttered a stunned, ecstatic “yes.”

Their January 1st wedding was held at the Chandelier Room in Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The actual celebration begins on December 31, 2021, to reflect their engagement. At 10:30pm, their 148 vaccinated guests (down from 175 due to the Omicron spike) started enjoying cocktails and appetizers. When it came time to begin the countdown to the new year, they stopped as two moderators, married Broadway actors John Eric Parker and Charles West, both ordained by the Church of Universal Life. On this occasion, ask guests to extend their hands and say a prayer for soon-to-be husbands.

Mr. Simmons and Mr. Clark, in matching vestments that Mr. Simmons helped design, stood on a staircase holding hands to receive that prayer, before Mr. Parker, as principal curator, deliver them to church at night. The new year begins when a choir joins in, singing “Wanna Be Happy?” By Kirk Franklin. The grooms exchanged rings and were declared married, and the crowd cheered as they embraced.

When January 1, 2022

Where The Chandelier Room at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California.

VIP Mr. Clark and Mr. Simmons were the stars of the night, but not the only ones in the room. In attendance were a number of actors, including Angela Bassett, Aisha Hinds, Courtney Vance, John Clarence Stewart and Yvonne Orji (“My bestie,” Mr. Clark said).

Crab for the second time Instead of a sit-down dinner, the guests would sip throughout the evening. Each groom chooses a menu delivered from two separate serving stations. Mr. Clark’s includes Maryland crab cakes and Parmesan crushed ice. Mr. Simmons’ has lobster mac-and-cheese, chicken and waffles.

Homeward Bound Mr. Clark and Mr. Simmons have not returned to Los Angeles from their honeymoon in Colombia, but to Manhattan, where they will begin renting an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen in 2021. Both are hoping for a return to normal on Broadway, although though they will always lament the early closure of “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” the first show written and directed by Blacks with Blacks in the lead. Mr. Clark said: “Had to say goodbye to something so groundbreaking.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/style/bryan-clark-devario-simmons-wedding.html A Broadway Couple Says ‘I Do’ To Huge Appreciation

Fry Electronics Team

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