Planning for the Engagement
In 1991, Mr. Schnell moved to Miami, where he met Staci Lee, a graduate student in marriage and family therapy. After a reasonable amount of time, he felt he trusted her enough to share his affection for the “They’re Playing Our Song” album, which was now a fixture in his car’s 8- track player, alternating only with The Carpenters.
He had faith that Staci would “get it” and therefore get him. “It’s not the most manly of shows,” he confided. They came to agree that “their” song was the second-act opener, “When You’re in My Arms.”
In 1993, Ron relocated to Los Angeles for business and asked Staci to join him. But she was still studying at Nova Southeastern University and didn’t want to move in with him just like, you know. But if he was willing to wait until she finished her master’s degree, she’d agree to come for a long visit.
The understanding was that a life-changing decision was imminent.
“I wanted our engagement to be memorable,” Ron told me over a bowl of chips con queso at the Tipsy Oak restaurant in Arlington. “I decided if there was some way, maybe a high school was putting on the show, I could somehow find it.”
This was before the internet, reader, and it wasn’t easy to research. And remember, too, that although “They’re Playing Our Song” was the couple’s favorite show, and that it ran on Broadway for 1,082 performances, Staci had never actually seen it.
Mr. Schnell was undeterred. He came to learn about theater licensing, and Samuel French publishing, and discovered that there would be a production in Long Beach, Calif., in March 1994.