Once & forever
It was love at first intermission for a couple of theatre fans — but they almost missed their cue
In some ways, Jonathan Morris and Amy Wood should never have met that chilly June night in 2015, when hundreds of theatre-loving singles filed into the Ed Mirvish Theatre in the hopes of finding love.
In other ways, it was as though they were destined to meet.
At least this is how Morris, a 37-year-old sales consultant, and Wood, a 33-year-old sales co-ordinator, tell their how-we-met story. And since they are getting married on Nov. 11 — a dreamy celebration culminating at Casa Loma — perhaps there is something magical about their serendipitous first encounter.
It begins with the first — and as yet only — time the Ed Mirvish Theatre has arranged a singles event: a special performance of Once, the Tony Award-winning musical that tells the story of a man and a woman who unexpectedly meet and connect through music.
More than 5,000 people had applied to see the show. Just1,200 had been selected to attend what organizers described as the world’s largest blind date, which matched people by age and gender preference — and their favourite musical.
Morris chose The Phantom of the Opera. He was paired with a woman named Karen, who never showed up.
Wood picked The Sound of Music. Her date, a man named Bo, sat down at the last minute and dashed off an indifferent “Hello, how are you?” before the house lights dimmed.
By intermission, both Morris and Wood were feeling glum.
But then, while standing in the concession line, Wood saw Morris out of the corner of her eye and the evening changed in a second.
“I looked to my right and saw a gentleman who was tall, dark and handsome,” Wood says, remembering how she was instantly attracted to his smile. “I had seen him earlier in the evening. So I went over and said, ‘Hi.’ ”
The pair had only a few minutes to chat, exchanging no more than the basic get-to-know-you questions and answers, before the lights flashed, calling people back to their seats.
It was enough, though, for Morris to know that he needed more time with this woman with the blue-green eyes and wide smile. He wrote his mobile number on his business card, passing it to Wood, and asked for hers in exchange.
Then they went back to their assigned seats, each wondering what the other was doing, both wanting to be together again.
“In the back of my head and in my heart I was like, ‘Maybe I should go fill that empty seat next to Jonathan,’ ” Wood says. “But I didn’t think it was right to let my date down.” When the show ended, Wood again saw Morris out of the corner of her eye and worried they would miss another chance to meet.
“In my head I was chanting, ‘Please don’t go away yet, please don’t go away yet.’ ”
Just as Morris was about to leave, Wood caught up with him in the lobby. Immediately, they started talking. And they didn’t stop.
They talked all through the show’s after-party. They talked as the other theatregoers left. They talked as Morris walked Wood back to her car.
“Afterwards, I couldn’t tell you what we talked about,” Morris says. “It felt like the whole world disappeared. It was just me and her.”
That night, Morris texted his brother to tell him that he had met someone. Wood felt the same way. Even though they weren’t officially matched at the theatre, it was as though the evening was meant just for them.
“It was magical,” she says. “There was always something bringing me back to him.”
Morris waited only a day before texting Wood. The next week, they had their first official date. Both describe the evening, which included dinner at an Italian restaurant, a show at a Mississauga comedy club and their first kiss, as perfect.
Three months later, Morris and Wood moved in together. The following June, on the first anniversary of their happenstance meeting at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, Morris proposed during a weekend trip to Collingwood, Ont.
“Looking back, there was never one moment when we knew this was it,” Morris says. “We always just kind of knew that we would always be together.”
Since that chilly June evening in 2015, Morris and Wood have returned to the Ed Mirvish Theatre to see several shows, each time snapping selfies in front of the marquee. And in September, they had their engagement photos taken inside and outside the theatre.
“It felt magical being back there, just the two of us,” Wood says. “We will always be thankful for that night. Down the road, we can say to our kids, ‘Hey, this is where Mom and Dad first met.’ ”
Now, just days away from their wedding, Morris and Wood want to believe they would have eventually found each other. As their relationship progressed, they discovered they had often frequented the same restaurants and shops in Brampton and Etobicoke.
“We were always just missing each other,” Morris says. “The theatre date gave us a helping hand by making sure we were at the same place at the same time.”
Back in 2015, Morris and Wood each named different musicals as their favourite shows. Now, of course, they both love the same one.
“It’s Once,” Wood says with a laugh. “We’re going to dance to one of the songs at our wedding. It’s always going to be a part of our story.”
Amy Wood and Jonathan Morris met in 2015 at a performance of the musical Once at the Ed Mirvish Theatre on Yonge St. It was a singles event with 1,200 attendees, but their assigned dates didn’t work out.
Amy and Jonathan pose for engagement photos outside the Ed Mirvish Theatre, where they first met.