Katie, then a sophomore at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, decided on a whim to enter a live lottery for discount tickets in front of the theater. She never would have imagined scoring front-row seats, for her, her siblings and her parents, to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-award winning musical — or that she would fall in love with one of the show’s stars, David Del Rio.
“I kept tapping my mother’s shoulder, throughout the entire show, whispering, ‘Watch that guy! He has great moments!’ ” says Katie, who continued to talk about his performance throughout intermission and even scribbled a heart next to his name in her program.
After curtain call, her father persuaded her to wait at the stage door for autographs and photos. “My dad asked, ‘Do you want me to take a picture of you and the actor who plays Sonny? And I was like, ‘No, dad. He’s around the same age as me. That would be so weird,’ ” she says. “I tried to keep my pride, but then David came out the side door and I was like, ‘Okay, okay, you can take my picture with him now!’ ”
She ultimately nabbed a photo — and a hug — with David. “I was very star-struck,” Katie recalls. “I tried to keep it cool and casual, in case I ever ran into him again in New York, but I never did.”
Katie would, however, see “In the Heights” again — five more times, in fact — before the production closed in early 2011.
Fast-forward three years later, and luck — and a little Hollywood magic — would strike again. David and Katie had each moved to Los Angeles, with the hopes of landing a role in a TV show or movie, and found themselves at the same 300-person birthday party for actor Daryl Sabara of “Spy Kids.”
David approached her, with the aim of setting her up with one of his friends, but the mission was quickly abandoned. “We had a really strong connection and really enjoyed each other’s conversation,” says David, 30. “Just like in acting, there’s a right time, a right place — and a right person.”
At that point, neither recalled their stage-door meeting. It wasn’t until Katie, 27, began singing “Rent” show tunes at the party that someone mentioned that David had performed on Broadway.
“I walked right up to him — a little liquid courage goes a long way — and asked what show he was in,” she says. Once he told her, it clicked, but not wanting to scare him off, Katie kept her former fandom under wraps.
The next day, David sent Katie several long texts, indicating his interest, but Katie was heading home for a month to support her father, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Nonetheless, they continued to communicate over texts, sharing their favorite books, movies and, yes, musicals. Their daily conversation was easy, and their affection grew.
“He invited me on a date, literally the day that I landed back in Los Angeles,” Katie says. That evening, they went to his friend’s house, where she met his cousin, brother and best friends. “I was so sure from the moment that I saw her again that this was it,” David recalls.
Less than three weeks later, David asked Katie to be his girlfriend. “Since we started texting, there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that we haven’t spoken,” he says.
Six months into their relationship, on David’s 26th birthday, Katie surprised him with the photo taken at the stage door four years earlier.
He was gobsmacked. “It was the best birthday surprise gift ever,” he says. “I had no idea.”
“The truth is, I’ve always known that we were going to be together, from the very beginning. I approached her first, I fell in love with her first and I asked her to be mine first,” David adds. “I’m an even bigger fan of hers.”
In 2016, they moved in together. David turned his direction from Broadway to television, movies and directing. He starred in Fox’s “Grease: Live” as Putzie and in “Pitch Perfect” and opened his own actor demo-reel company. Katie likewise has pursued television, movies and screenwriting. She recently co-wrote and co-produced a short film, “Solstice Ranch.”
In early March 2017, David surprised her with tickets to New York to see their friend, actor Jordan Fisher, in Miranda’s second smash hit, “Hamilton.” On the second day of the trip, under the pretense that they were meeting his mother for lunch, David brought Katie to the stage door of the Richard Rodgers Theatre and proposed.
“Would you make me the happiest man on Earth,” he asked, on bended knee, “by being with me forever as my wife?” Katie, speechless, nodded yes excitedly.
On Feb. 3, about 120 guests gathered to see the pair exchange vows at a private villa in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Several of their former castmates, including Brittany Snow of “Pitch Perfect” and Graham Rogers of “Quantico,” traveled from New York and Los Angeles to attend the four-day festivities.
“You know we’re both actors when our [agents] gave us a hard time about our wedding, because it fell right before pilot season,” David says jokingly.
Bookended by a wedding party of 24, David became misty-eyed as Katie glided down the aisle. She was accompanied by her father, a lieutenant colonel in the Army who previously worked at the Pentagon, in military dress blues.
By the time the officiant, Katie’s paternal uncle, announced their kiss, tears were streaming down David’s face. Later, they shared a first dance to James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go,” which ended in a beachside fireworks display. The groomsmen then surprised guests with a choreographed dance to Bruno Mars’s “Perm.”
David — not wanting to be left out — hopped up and joined them, center stage, for a performance of the Backstreet Boys’ hit “Everybody.”
Katie laughed as her new husband flaunted his boy band-esque moves. “I watched him with pride,” she says, “and not as a fan, but as my husband.”
The feeling was mutual. “I had never felt so determined and sure of something,” David says, “until the day I met Katie.”
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