Friday, March 4, 2011

An Auditorium Theatre Engagement

Every so often, history happens at our theatre and not just on the stage. Recently, Arne and Kris Johnson visited our theatre and mentioned to our front of house team that they got engaged outside our theatre 20 years ago. I spoke with them later and got the details of the big day.

Arne and Chris Johnson 1
Arne and Kris Johnson. Photo by staff member CJ Dillon.

After a candlelight dinner on borrowed china and a guitar serenade by Arne, they dashed off to celebrate Kris' 25th birthday at the Auditorium Theatre to see Phantom of the Opera on Saturday, January 19, 1991. Having just graduated college, starting his first job in structural engineering and with Kris still in grad school, they sat in the balcony but sightlines were excellent.

After the show, Arne surprised Kris with a horse-drawn carriage waiting outside the theatre to pick them up. Inside, Arne gave Kris a box for the perfume Beautiful by Estee Lauder. Kris had an idea that the night was going to be special and was taken aback by the fragrant gift but, when opened, a gorgeous diamond ring was inside, and Arne was down on one knee proposing. It goes without saying that the calculations were correct for the young engineer and Chris said yes.

As the proposal took place, the horse and carriage took our couple to Palm Court at The Drake Hotel for a celebratory drink, and Arne gave Kris a poem he had written to explain the significance of the engagement ring. After the recent passing of Arne’s mother, his father had passed down to him his mom’s wedding ring, since Arne was the youngest and only unmarried child among six siblings. Arne had the diamonds from his mom’s wedding ring re-set into Kris’s engagement ring. A line in the poem read, “diamonds from a hand I loved, diamonds to a hand I want to hold forever.”

On behalf of myself and the staff at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, we congratulate Arne and Kris on 20 years and wish them the best for many more years to come.

If you have a special story about time spent at the Auditorium Theatre, we want to hear from you. Email jhallissey [at] auditoriumtheatre [dot] org.

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