In Broadway's 'Parade,' Two Husbands Share the Stage — and One Even Understudies the Other

Actors Sean Allan Krill and Harry Bouvy tell PEOPLE about the “magical” moment they were both cast in Parade — and why they were learning the same role at the same time

Harry Bouvy and Sean Allan Krill from the red carpet at PARADE’s Opening Night.
Photo: Jenny Anderson

For husbands Sean Allan Krill and Harry Bouvy, working together on Broadway was a long time in the making.

Earlier this month, the two actors opened in the acclaimed Main Stem revival of Parade, starring Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond. Though they've known each other for over a decade, the musical marks their first time together on Broadway and a particularly meaningful moment for them both.

"We met during a really dark time in our lives," Krill, 51, tells PEOPLE. "Harry had just lost his partner T. Scott Cunningham in 2009, and I lost my partner Guy Adkins to colon cancer in 2010."

Out of the ashes rose a "phoenix," Krill says. The pair, who became friendly via Adkins, leaned on each other for emotional support and, about a year later, decided to open themselves up to love again.

Harry Bouvy and Sean Allan Krill from the red carpet at PARADE’s Opening Night
Jenny Anderson

"I'm getting choked up," Krill adds. "I say it to him every day: he saved my life."

Five days before same-sex marriage was declared legal across the United States in 2015, they wed.

Unlike Parade — in which the state of Georgia revolts against Leo Frank (Platt) after the unsolved murder of his 13-year-old female employee — Bouvy, 55, says their relationship is an example of "grief turning into love" rather than hate.

"To be in the show together is really once-in-a-lifetime stuff," he adds. "It's like a dream I never knew I had."

Bouvy is making his Broadway debut in Parade, in which he understudies four different actors, including his husband (who plays Georgia Governor John Slaton). The married couple were both cast when the revival took shape at New York City Center before transferring to Broadway.

Though Bouvy never went on during the short City Center run, he officially made his Broadway debut by stepping in for another Parade actor out sick — and Krill was in the performance to watch it all unfold.

"I had to really just keep myself together," Krill explains. "It was thrilling. It's a core memory. I think I'll remember that even more than my own Broadway debut."

Harry Bouvy and Sean Allan Krill from the red carpet at PARADE’s Opening Night.
Michaelah Reynolds

Krill isn't the only proud husband at Parade. When Bouvy closely watches his partner's performance to ensure he hits all his marks in the event Krill is absent, he can't help but admire him from the wings.

"The other day, when he wasn't feeling very well, I was watching from backstage and tracking him," Bouvy says, explaining that he could have gone on for his husband at a moment's notice. (As of Wednesday, Bouvy has yet to go on in place of his husband in Parade.)

"I was truly marveling in the idea that I could not tell he wasn't feeling well. Tears kind of came to my eyes. I've seen Sean be strong as a person in so many aspects of our lives — mostly through Guy's death and everything we've gone through as a couple. But, as a performer…I can see how much of a professional he is, and it just fills me with pride and joy."

They credit their late longtime partners for such a monumental moment in their lives.

RELATED VIDEO: Parade Is Coming to Broadway! See an Exclusive First Look at Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond

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"Something happens when you lose someone that you really, really care about. It sort of cracks you open, and at least it helps me sort of feel a bit more connected to the magic of life now," says Krill. "This is really just a gift from Guy and Scott."

Adds Bouvy: "After Scott died, I will never forget it. I was talking to my therapist one day, and I was breaking down about something, and he said, 'Death is the closest thing we have to magic because one moment they're there, and the next they are gone.' I think we both always leaned into that a little bit, but we lean into the positive feeling it gives you — we try to, anyway."

"If it's magic," he says, "then maybe the magic can lift us up."

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