BWW Blog: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF's Ben Rappaport- The Question Of Marriage
I can't believe it's May again. It marks a year since my audition process for Fiddler began. It also marks a year since I decided that if I booked the show, I was going to propose to my girlfriend on the stage.
It all started at lunch at Blockheads with my close friend and Juilliard classmate Robert Eli....well, I mean, it all really started with a tearful goodbye in my car back in the summer of '07 when we started dating, but at lunch with Rob that day, these words came pouring out of my mouth: 'If I book this show, I'm going to propose to Megan onstage.' I've known Rob since I was 18. He has seen me through several phases and relationships, and after I said that, he grinned proudly gave me an epic brotherly embrace. Sure enough, a few short weeks later I got the job and my plan was cemented.
Shortly after, I told my father the news while we kayaked in Cape Cod, told my mother as she drove me to the train station, had the man to man talk with her dad at Dinosaur BBQ, and secretly rejoiced with her mom when they visited a few months later. We carefully planned to have both of our families in town and in the audience on a Sunday matinee in January (so we could properly celebrate afterwards, of course). As I embarked on rehearsals, very few people knew about my internal countdown and the perked resonance I was experiencing every time the topic of marriage was discussed. I preferred it this way because what I was going to do in January had a lot to do with those who could no longer speak.
When I proposed, I told Megan about the significance of asking her on the Fiddler stage. To me, it represented our unrelenting support of eachother's hopes and dreams, the art form that brought us together, and a direct line of synergy of the past, present, and future. I told her that I saw the whole experience as a sign from my ancestors who came before me that this was exactly how and when to take this leap together and to solidify our link in the chain of our family. The Universe was aligned so perfectly, I couldn't ignore it.
Thanks to the help of my cast, crew, and amazing stage manager Bess Glorioso, it was a magical moment that we will never forget. In case you haven't seen it, here is the video of the grand finale of the proposal, if you will:
What you don't see in the video is the very beginning, where I led Megan out to center stage as everyone around us was getting into place to watch. As I escorted her, I experienced an interesting phenomenon. For a brief moment, my heart actually broke. Here she was, the center of a huge secret that everyone else in the building was in on except for her. She was vulnerable, and even though our lives were about to change for the better, my guttural instinct was to protect her. To shield her from harm's way. I had never experienced anything like that in my entire life up until that moment. It was beautiful. I'll carry that feeling with me for the rest of our lives.
Check back next Wednesday for more from BroadwayWorld's latest blogger, Ben Rappaport. Ben can currently be seen as 'Perchik' in Fiddler on the Roof, playing at the Broadway Theatre. Every week, he will answer questions from fans, so be sure to comment below, or tweet him directly at @Ben_Rappaport.
Ben was last seen on Broadway in Picnic with Ellen Burstyn, directed by Sam Gold. His Off-Broadway credits include: Sex Lives Of Our Parents (Second Stage),The Gingerbread House(Rattlestick/stageFARM). Regional: Alex Timbers' original production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Williamstown Theatre Festival). On TV, Ben is best known as the star of the NBC series "Outsourced". He currently appears as Carey Zepps on "The Good Wife"(CBS) and Ollie Parker on "Mr. Robot"(USA). He has also appeared on "Elementary"(CBS). Film credits include: Hope Springs opposite Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell. The Brass Teapot, Stereotypically You (upcoming), and lead of the upcoming film Landing Up. Ben trained at Juilliard, where he received the Michel and Suria Saint-Denis Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Drama.