Andy Karl and Orfeh believe in love at first sight. The couple are currently starring in Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Nederlander Theatre. But their romance began four blocks north at the Minskoff Theatre two decades ago.
Andy first saw Orfeh (who goes only by her first name) performing onstage in Broadway’s Saturday Night Fever in 2000. He joined the same cast a few months later, and the rest is history.
“I had seen Saturday Night Fever and I’d seen Orfeh be miraculous onstage—and she will be in Pretty Woman as well,” says Karl.
“Oh, brother!” chimes in Orfeh.
Orfeh started with the Pretty Woman: The Musical project nearly two years ago, and was thrilled when Andy joined the cast for the Broadway run.
“All the stars aligned,” says Andy. But one had to misalign first: Andy recalls that the show’s director, Jerry Mitchell, “called me the same day my TV pilot didn’t get picked up. I was like, Is this kismet? I guess it is.”
Andy plays the show’s romantic lead, Edward Lewis, while Orfeh plays Kit, the friend of the title character, Vivian (played by Samantha Barks). Orfeh notes, “The funny thing is, in this show, we literally don’t have more than 30 seconds of stage time together. But it is good to be in the same show, that’s for sure.”
The couple fits in gym dates before call times and trades off household chores and dog-caring duties between rehearsals. They commute home together from the theatre, natch. “Getting to go to work with him again is the best thing ever—because we don’t get to see each other otherwise,” says Orfeh.
“It is like a paid vacation when we can work together,” Andy says with a laugh.
While they have been lucky to get these “paid vacations” more than 10 times in various concerts and productions, including in Legally Blonde on Broadway, that isn’t always the case. Regional shows and national tours often keep them apart for lengths of time. Luckily, Orfeh says, “In our case, absence has made the heart grow fonder.”
The secret to their lasting love perhaps lies in their shared profession: They both understand the late nights, long rehearsals, and grueling hours that come with the gig.
“It’s all about respect, it’s all about the love,” says Andy. “Respect the space, respect the work, respect the point of view.”
Respect has been the throughline of their relationship since meeting in Saturday Night Fever. For their first date, they went to a sushi restaurant near the Minskoff. “Neither one of us could eat,” says Orfeh. “We basically just stared at each other and picked at our food the whole night.”
Once the showmance moved outside the theatre, the courtship was full speed ahead.
“It was very fast,” concedes Orfeh. “We met in July and we eloped in January. I think the funny thing is, to this day, people don’t realize that is where we met—I think people think we met in Legally Blonde. By the time we were in Legally Blonde we had already been married six years.”
Andy adds, “I don’t know how it happened so fast, it just sort of did. And it all seemed right.”
There was some speculation behind the curtain, though. “Look, everybody snickered behind our back, they were like, ‘Oh, here’s another showmance,’” says Orfeh. “It sounds clichéd, but it really was love at first sight. I never believed in it until it happened—but it happened.”
Andy and Orfeh eloped to Miami—where they were joined by a small crowd of family and friends in the know. Indeed it was the kind of wedding only show people could pull off. The nuptials took place on the 2,000-square-foot terrace of a lavish South Beach home that belonged a Saturday Night Fever producer. The show’s company management team secured champagne and flowers, and Orfeh’s best friend had many roles in the ceremony, serving as the sir of honor, the ring bearer, the videographer, and the justice of the peace.
The couple return to the Magic City as often as they can, to “relive our magic moment,” says Andy.
In addition to traveling to Florida, the couple share a love of dogs, tennis, and movies. They also enjoy curating and performing together in concerts, something they hope to continue on Monday nights once Pretty Woman: The Musical is in full swing. Concerts allow the couple freedom to explore different genres of music, ranging from showtunes to pop to rock.
“If we do a concert together, obviously the theme is love and it is about us and about our journey,” says Andy.
In the middle of our interview, the couple experienced another kismet moment: As they were walking home from a 10-out-of-12 rehearsal, they ran into their friend Frankie Grande, fellow Broadway performer and half-brother to Ariana Grande, who took the phone.
“Yo, it’s Frankie G, I just want to kiss these two, because they’re like family,” he says of the couple.
“We spend Christmases with the Grandes,” effuses Orfeh.
It seems that those who enter the Andy-and-Orfeh orbit become part of their joyous circle of positivity and talent for the long haul. What’s next? The duo want to take their chemistry to the silver screen—with a little help from their friends, of course.
“Every time I write something of my own, I’m always thinking of roles for both of us and our friends,” says Andy of future TV projects.
Adds Orfeh of this ever-expanding universe, “There’s a whole bunch of people in Pretty Woman: The Musical who now have to be in whatever television show we write and produce.”