Life is a stage for married mayors
[wzslider autoplay="true" interval="5000" info="true" lightbox="true"]Former Mount Pleasant Mayors Bruce and Cindy Kilmer were already married before they met.
Cast as a husband and wife, the couple met on the set of "You Can't Take it With You," at the local Broadway Theatre.
Cindy, 56, had only been in a couple shows at the theater at 216 E. Broadway St., before being introduced to and acting alongside Bruce, 64, in 2002.
Bruce and Cindy, who were married in 2005, have been involved in 25 shows in some capacity at the Broadway, acting, producing, helping with makeup or directing.
Cindy, an attorney who primarily does probate work for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, embraces the opportunity to work with her husband.
"If I say to him 'Do something a little different,' he doesn't get mad at me for saying it," Cindy said. "He says 'Oh, thank you for telling me that.'"
Bruce not only doesn't mind receiving direction from his wife. He relishes it.
"Some of the other cast members think 'Wow, she's being hard on him' and I don't mind it," Bruce said. "I want direction. I need it. Because I can't see myself. I mean, I need to know what I look like, and she tells me and then we switch it around."
For Bruce, who works as an attorney for the Michigan Supreme Court, stage work is an opportunity to let loose.
"I like to escape and be somebody different, and just be a ham," Bruce said. "Whereas in my day job, I'm an attorney. I have to be very professional, I have to be very proper, I have to say all the right things, and in theater I can just let go and be somebody else."
The duo will again be taking the Broadway by storm in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," with Bruce acting in the classic British comedy and Cindy directing.
Cindy's full-length directorial debut was "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" in 2009, a musical take on the "Peanuts" comics strips by Charles M. Schultz.
From the stage to the City Hall
In addition to a shared love of theater, the Kilmers also have a passion for law and local politics. Cindy has done work in legal fields including divorce and criminal law, and said she prefers working for the tribe more than other courts.
"They have their own ordinances," Cindy said. "They have their own codes, and so you have to learn them and go in there, and it's just a little bit different culture. It's a little bit more laid back sometimes."
Cindy also helped incorporate the Friends of the Broadway, the non-profit organization that runs the Broadway Theater.
Bruce has served as a Michigan Supreme Court liaison since 1988. He communicates with and negotiates disputes with judges in 27 different counties in the state.
In addition to their ties as attorneys and theater fans, they have also spent years serving the community.
Cindy was on the Mount Pleasant City Commission from 1998 to 2006 and served as the city's mayor in 2006, while Bruce went on the commission shortly after, from 2007 to 2012 and served as mayor from to 2011 to 2012.
Throughout every thing they've done together, theater has provided some memorable – and memorably violent – moments, such as when they appeared in the 2003 murder mystery "Dead Giveaway."
"Our first play we were married, and then (in the second) play I shot her and killed her," Bruce said.
However, even that rather gruesome bump in the road of their relationship couldn't stop their love.
Mike Meakin, a 44-year-old Lake Isabella resident, has known the couple since 2005. A disabled Iraq War veteran who worked with Army Entertainment, Europe, for three years, Meakin performed several plays and musicals.
Since then he has collaborated several times with the Kilmers, including acting in the upcoming "Earnest."
"They're a love story for the community," Meakin said. "They're a dream come true. They're perfect for each other."
Show dates for "The importance of Being Earnest" are Feb. 28 and March 1 at 7 p.m., and March 2 at 2 p.m.