Engaged on stage—Hale Centre Theatre actor is surprised by proposal during showAug 02, 2021 01:11PM ● By Heather Lawrence
Actor Adrien Swenson was the only one not in on the surprise on July 8 when her boyfriend Matt Berry proposed to her during the final scene of “Always… Patsy Cline” at Hale Centre Theatre. (Leave it to Leavitt Photography)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Sandy native Adrien Swenson has been acting for a long time. She’s learned to keep her cool when things don’t go as planned during a show. But she knew it was fine to break character during the July 8 show of “Always… Patsy Cline” at Hale Centre Theater when her boyfriend Matt Berry walked onstage with flowers.
Hale’s public relations director Bobby Gibson said Berry approached them about proposing during a show. “Matt reached out to us asking if this was a possibility. We take our shows seriously and this isn’t something we do. But Adrien has been acting with us for nearly 20 years. Everyone loves her, and everyone was on board.”
Swenson played the role of Louise in the show. At the end, in a scene depicting the Grand Ole Opry, she chooses someone out of the audience to come on stage. That’s where Berry, Gibson and director/music director Kelly DeHaan gave the show an alternate ending.
“There’s a giant LCD screen at the back of the stage which the audience can see. Cori Cable Kidder, who played Patsy, kept Adrien turned away from the screen. Then we put up some text that said Adrien’s boyfriend Matt had a question he wanted to ask her, so the audience knew before Adrien did,” Gibson said.
DeHaan, who has known and worked with Swenson for years, took the story from there. “Our first reaction when Matt approached us was, ‘Is he good enough for Adrien?’ And the answer is yes. She’s bonkers for him, and his love for her during the planning process was obvious. He was so nervous backstage,” DeHaan said.
Though the exact timing was a surprise, Swenson knew the proposal was coming. “Matt and I have known for a while we wanted to get married. We started ring shopping in April, but custom-designing a ring took time.
“We started going about things quietly and backwards from the norm. We picked a date, put money on a venue, and started planning. When Matt heard the ring was ready, he planned the proposal,” Swenson said.
Of course, these things can’t always go smoothly, and the ring was actually lost in the mail at the last minute. But with everything else in place at the theater, Berry decided to go through with it and use a temporary ring.
Berry went all out to make it special. “Matt isn’t in the show, but we had him fitted in a costume to look like the band so he would blend in until the very last moment. We changed the last song to ‘Always.’ He came out with flowers and a ring, and had a speech all worked out. He got down on his knee and asked her to marry him,” DeHaan said.
“And she said yes!” DeHaan said. “The audience loved it. They loved being a part of it. For Adrien, we would do anything.”
As the show wrapped up, family and friends came on stage to celebrate. Swenson shared a video of the proposal on her Instagram account, @adjeswenson.
For Swenson, it was a perfect proposal combining two things she loves—Berry and acting. “The next day I was talking to Adrien, and she said, ‘I keep thinking, this was the best proposal! And then I realize, it was mine.’ It was an amazing night for her, and amazing for us to see her soar,” DeHaan said.
Berry and Swenson both posted their reactions on their social media. Berry thanked the crew at Hale for making everything happen, and gave a loving shout out to his now-official fiancée. “I feel like the luckiest man alive right now—she said yes! Love you Adrien Swenson.”
The real ring was found and they picked it up the next day, where Berry re-proposed to Swenson on her doorstep while she was in her pajamas.
The couple is planning a September wedding. “If you’re thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a fast wedding,’ or, ‘Wow, that’s a beautiful ring,’ or, ‘Wow, he must love her,’ you’re right. About all of it,” Swenson said.