The New York Times

By Tammy La Gorce

25 august


Nikki James and Derk Alexander Oosterman were married Aug. 25. Aniek Prins, an independent wedding officer for the municipality of Amsterdam, performed the ceremony in Amsterdam aboard the Wapen van Amsterdam on the river IJ.

Ms. James, 37, is an actress who appeared as Viola in “Twelfth Night” this summer at the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production in New York. She won a Tony Award in 2011 for her role as Nabulungi in “The Book of Mormon.” She also played Eponine in the Broadway revival of “Les Miserables,” in 2014. She graduated from N.Y.U.

She is the daughter of Marie Lourdes James of Livingston, N.J., and the late Oswald Douglas James. She is the stepdaughter of Roy E. Bond.

Mr. Oosterman, also 37, is the executive vice president of Convergent Energy and Power, a developer and operator of energy storage systems based in New York. He graduated from Pomona College with degrees in economics and international relations and received a master’s degree in business administration from U.C.L.A.

He is a son of Joyce Yvonne Oosterman and Simon Oosterman of Floriana, Malta.

Ms. James and Mr. Oosterman met in 2014 at Bar Veloce in Manhattan. Ms. James was in previews for that year’s Broadway revival of “Les Miserables,” in which she played the street urchin Eponine. Mr. Oosterman, then living in Los Angeles, was visiting his friend Johannes Rittershausen in New York to say goodbye; in three weeks, Mr. Oosterman was moving to London. Ms. James was lured to the bar by her friend Pearl Sun, Mr. Rittershausen’s wife.

“I was rehearsing during the day and doing shows, so I really was not inclined to go out for drinks because my job is more important to me than a glass of wine,” Ms. James said. “But she mentioned they were going to order my favorite bottle of Lambrusco. My arm was twisted.”

She wasn’t prepared to meet a handsome Dutch stranger. “When I saw him, I kept thinking how irritated I was that I hadn’t brushed my hair or put makeup on,” she said. “I was playing Eponine, so I had dirt on my face and my hair was a mess. I was sitting at the end of the bar where there was a mirror, and I kept catching glimpses of myself and being embarrassed.”

Mr. Oosterman did not notice the dirt or the wild hair. He was instantly attracted. But because of his impending move, he set his feelings aside. Before he left New York, they exchanged emails. By the time he left for London, a romantic e-correspondence was incubating. A few months later, Ms. James visited Mr. Oosterman in London. She left disappointed.

“As much as we knew this was something special, he was apprehensive about starting a real relationship with someone who lived so far away,” she said. “I was in love with him. It was really difficult.”

Three weeks of silence followed that trip. Then came an email from London. “I miss you,” it said.

“I miss you, too,” Ms. James wrote back.

In 2015, Ms. James and Mr. Oosterman rendezvoused in Paris and Los Angeles. Two years after their first meeting at the wine bar, Mr. Oosterman gave up on London and moved to Manhattan to be with Ms. James. He had never lived in New York.

“It was an unbelievable way to be introduced to the city because Nikki has an enormous network of actor friends that to then I had only seen on TV,” he said. But showbiz and its attendant excitement only intensified their romance. On May 13, 2017, Ms. James had a day off from rehearsals for “Julius Caesar” at the Public Theater. She went to see “War Paint” with Andrew Rannells, a co-star (who played Elder Price) from “The Book of Mormon.”

Mr. Oosterman had given Mr. Rannells instructions: “I said, ‘Andrew, make sure she comes home right afterward. Let me know when you guys are on your way back.” He was waiting at their apartment with an engagement ring; Mr. Rannells was to alert him as to when to light candles and open a bottle of wine.

But Mr. Rannells failed to reach Mr. Oosterman, and Ms. James walked in the door without warning. “She totally threw me off my script,” Mr. Oosterman said. Once Ms. James finished raving over Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole’s performances, Mr. Oosterman got down on one knee and proposed.

“I cried so much,” Ms. James said. She answered with an enthusiastic yes.

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