An ‘Indoor Kid’ Falls in Love With Nature, and an Actress

Lucas Timothy McMahon had just finished seeing “The Cher Show” on Broadway in January 2019 when he was introduced to Elise Marie MacPherson at a friend’s birthday party. He was eager to talk about the performances. “I started doing some re-enactments,” he said. Ms. MacPherson, an actress who goes by Ellie, found them hilarious.

Mr. McMahon, 32, and Ms. MacPherson, 34, had been introduced at the party, held at E’s Bar on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, by their mutual friend Nicole Capatasto, a theater publicist. Mr. McMahon, the vice president of Alchemation, a theater production company, and an executive producer of the Broadway musical “Six,” recognized Ms. MacPherson, now starring Off Broadway in “The Play That Goes Wrong,” from past parties for theater people.

“We had never talked, but I remember seeing her across the room and thinking, ‘That girl is really cute, but she’s really out of my league,’” he said. When Ms. MacPherson messaged him on Instagram the day after the party to say she was still laughing about the conversation they had the night before, he asked her on a date. (They went to an Upper West Side wine bar, but quickly discovered that neither liked wine.)

Fourteen months later, they were a committed couple and Broadway had shut down because of the coronavirus. Ms. MacPherson, then living in Hamilton Heights, thought the pandemic could be a barometer of their compatibility. At first she packed two bags and spent a few nights at Mr. McMahon’s Upper West Side apartment. In June 2020, when her lease ran out, the arrangement became permanent.

“Honestly, we were both really nervous about it,” Ms. MacPherson said. Pre-Covid, “we both had such busy schedules. We felt like, what’s it going to be like, spending so much time together during the most vulnerable, scary time?”

In a word, it was “magical,” Mr. McMahon said. “We discovered how suited we were for each other and how happy we made each other.” The discoveries didn’t end there. The same summer, he suggested a cross-country camping trip to visit a handful of national parks. Ms. MacPherson wasn’t sure it was a great idea.

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As someone who grew up in an outdoorsy military family, an adventure that involved tents and sleeping bags sounded good to her. But she wasn’t sure Mr. McMahon, a self-described “indoor kid,” was cut out for it.

It turned out he was. “I had never felt so much wonder and so much joy” in nature, he said.

By the summer of 2021, they had spent much of the pandemic seeing the country on foot and out car windows, falling more deeply in love with nature and each other. On Sept. 6, 2021, during a trip to Channel Islands National Park in California, Mr. McMahon dropped to one knee and proposed. “I cried and laughed at the same time, like I was in a Chekhov play,” Ms. MacPherson said.

That fall, with Broadway back open, both went back to work as a newly engaged couple.

On Oct. 1, they were married by Ms. Capatasto, with their friend Zachary Baer taking part in the ceremony at the New England Outdoor Center in Millinocket, Maine; both were ordained by the Universal Life Church for the occasion. For their 150 guests, who provided negative Covid tests, the weekend showcased the couple’s twin passions.

Instead of a rehearsal dinner, on Sept. 30, all attended an open mic night under the stars at the nature center. “We wanted to make it a Marie’s Crisis situation,” Mr. McMahon said, referring to the piano bar in Manhattan known for drawing musical theater performers and spontaneous song.

The outdoor ceremony the following day was a nod to the appreciation for open spaces they developed together during the pandemic. “It was a way to share this thing we discovered with people we love,” Mr. McMahon said.

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