Ipswich: Marriage proposal takes centre stage for Dan and Sarah
15:54 08 January 2014
Gasps of delight went up from the audience at the New Wolsey Theatre over the weekend as an unscripted interlude captured their hearts.
Michael and Lilly set the Wolsey panto precedent
Dan’s was not the first theatrical proposal from performers at the New Wolsey.
On December 21 Michael Paver, who played Harold the Herald in the New Wolsey’s last pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, proposed on Ipswich’s waterfront to Lilly Howard, who played Princess Susie.
The couple were accompanied by a flash mob of background cast who sang Stand By Me, the song to which the couple fell in love.
Michael said: “Since meeting at the Wolsey last year, we have been on one big old journey - from finally, and unsurprisingly getting together; to getting our first flat together; to now becoming engaged.
“It has been without question the best year of our lives. Getting engaged in Ipswich, with the cast of the current panto flash-mobbing us to a song that was in the show last year and with me singing to Lilly, was the only decent way to propose... for a couple who spend their lives on the stage!”
Although Saturday night’s performance of pantomime Dick Whittington was packed full of adventure, skulduggery and comedy, nothing could have prepared the audience for the moment when a member of the cast proposed to his girlfriend.
Dan de Cruz, the actor who plays the villainous King Rat, dropped his menacing demeanour at the end of the performance for long enough to ask his girlfriend to marry him live on stage.
While the 400-strong audience whooped with enthusiasm Dan, 33, only had to wait nervously for a few moments before Sarah Mahony, who played Frederica in last year’s New Wolsey panto, said “Yes”.
The couple live in East London but have been to Ipswich several times to appear in other shows.
"“Sarah hardly made it down the stairs. She was only able to nod. Some of the cast were crying as well.”"
Dan told the Star that he knew Sarah, 32, was special from the moment he saw her.
“I first met Sarah on another Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto in Leeds so I thought it would be nice to propose in one,” he said. “I was playing Aladdin and she was Princess Lotus Blossom. From the first time we locked eyes I knew she was going to be someone special.
“We’ve spent a couple of fantastic years together and have even been lucky enough to work with each other again. I’m over the moon that I got to propose to her in a fairy-tale way - on the New Wolsey stage, with the cast playing our song and our family and friends (and the other 400 audience members) cheering us on.
“It’s not every day you get to marry your princess!
“The Wolsey let me go wild (with the proposal) and they were unbelievably supportive.”
Although Dan had done rehearsals and dress rehearsals for the proposal he admitted there were still nerves on the day, which overcame everyone involved as well.
“Sarah hardly made it down the stairs,” Dan said. “And she was only able to nod. Some of the cast were crying as well.”
Unfortunately acting commitments mean the wedding won’t take place for a while yet.
“Sarah’s on tour so we’ll have to wait for a bit, but she’s already started planning,” Dan added.
But what if the unthinkable had happened? What if Sarah had said no? Was there a backup plan?
Dan laughed: “If she said no I’d have put her on the stage trap door and run!”