He lit up her life as the lights went out on Broadway

As the timeline moved to 2021, Mr Pinzone became ready to propose, but was nervous about it. He was 40 years old and, despite a healthy dating history, had never had a serious relationship. Mrs. Bowen had been in several. Regarding love, he said, “I had nothing to complain about. So with the proposal, I was thinking, don’t blow it up, Joe.

In March, he bought a ring. In April, guided by Ms. Bowen’s love for Broadway, he began phoning theaters to ask if he could rent their marquees. He wanted analog but most, he found, are digital. The IFC Center in Greenwich Village shows movies, not plays, but it fits the bill.

On April 18, before meeting friends for brunch at the nearby Market Table restaurant, he proposed just like the marquee message taped in Ms Bowen’s eyes.

“Melanie, you are my star, my hero and my love. Will you marry me?” he read.

Ms Bowen, who put her hand over her masked mouth in surprise, produced a muffled but very happy “yes”.

On December 18, they were married in Rochester at the Inn on Broadway, a hotel and event space, by their friend Shane Saldivar, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the occasion. Ms Bowen said she hoped their 107 vaccinated guests would return home feeling less depressed by the state of the world in the grip of a pandemic.

“Covid is terrible,” she said. “But it certainly played a role in slowing us down enough to appreciate every moment.”

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