EDGEWATER — As Jarrod Zimmerman grays his hair and darkens false wrinkles on his face for his role as Gepetto in this summer's production of "Pinocchio" at The Marriott Theatre, his wife Amanda Tanguay will be behind the scenes, coaching the show's actors on where to turn, point and step.
"It's been great, we've been looking for an opportunity to work together, and this just happened to work out," Tanguay said. "It was just really serendipitous, we love living together, we love being together and we love working together."
Married in fall 2012, the couple first worked together in another Marriott production, "The Music Man," in 2010.
Their wedding was held at Lincoln Park Zoo on a Monday night, the night theaters usually "go dark," so they could be surrounded by all the actors and performers they know and love — some of whom work alongside the couple in "Pinocchio."
While Zimmerman's Gepetto doesn't do much dancing in the show, off stage he's filled in for plenty of characters at home as Tanguay crafts a vision for the production's dance numbers.
After five years of working separately on projects in the entertainment industry, it's been "amazing" to carpool, take lunches, watch each other succeed and eventually come home together at the end of a hectic day of rehearsals and showings, Tanguay said.
Their bond comes in handy during rehearsal, she said.
"We understand each other really well, we're definitely a good team," she said. "We're on the same page about a lot of things, so he knows exactly what I'm about to say before I even say it," she said.
A graduate of Northwestern University with a focus in communications and musical theater, Zimmerman said although he's always had a passion for computer science, his educator parents pushed him to pursue a career in the arts.
At his day job, he works as a graphic designer, the perfect way to combine his creative skills and love for computers, he said.
"I think they just thought me being stuck behind a computer screen all day would not be good for my soul, but I think I've found a nice balance and being a web designer certainly helps me to continue to be an actor in the city," Zimmerman said.
Chicago-based actor Jarrod Zimmerman, who plays Gepetto, said being in this production has reunited him with many actors he studied with at Northwestern, making it feel like a "family." [The Marriott Theatre]
The couple said they love living in Edgewater, where they planted roots in 2011.
Zimmerman said over the years he's played a number of "old man" roles, a path he started on after a production at Northwestern.
Now he's "taking a trip down memory lane" with a former college director, Northwestern colleagues and his wife as they bring the classic tale of Pinocchio to life, making a few creative changes to the narrative here and there, but still containing many "elements of Disney," Zimmerman said.
Until their next theatric endeavors, Zimmerman and Tanguay will continue to be the couple that works together and plays together.
"Getting to work with her has been fantastic," he said. "It feels a little bit like home, especially being able to work with my wife, so it's been a really lovely experience."
"Pinocchio" will play at The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Way in suburban Lincolnshire, until Aug. 2.
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