September 12, 2012


Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
March 31, 2012
July 28, 2012 

BackgroundOnce the musical is based on the low-budget Irish film of the same name, which earned unexpected box office success in 2007. The film’s success led to two Grammy nominations and an Academy Award win for Best Original Song (Falling Slowly). The musical Once played at the New York Theatre Workshop in December, 2011 and transferred to Broadway in February. Once was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (John Tiffany), and Best Actor in a Musical (Steve Kazee). 

Synopsis: Guy is a struggling Irish musician who lives with his father and fixes Hoover vacuums for a living. Girl is a Czech immigrant who is immediately inspired by Guy’s music. When the two meet in Dublin, they form an unlikely friendship that results in love, healing, and beautiful music. “His music needed one thing. Her”. 

Comments: When I saw the show for the first time in March, I left the theatre thinking, okay, when can I come back and see this again? 

Once is wildly different from anything I have ever seen on stage.  Once is the kind of honest, inspiring production that you don’t see every day on Broadway, and this is what makes it so special and appealing to audiences. 

The music is simple and beautiful, ranging from raw and emotionally-charged to passionate and haunting. The music is most effective in the way that it is presented by the actors. This multitalented cast functions not only as actors, singers, and dancers, but also as the orchestra. The actors simultaneously sing, dance, play an instrument, and propel the story forward.  Because of this, the story is told in a very unique way, with the instrument becoming part of the character and choreography. It’s impressive and inspiring. 

Enda Walsh’s book is smart with humor injected in just the right places. I loved the dialogue between Guy and Girl, which is both emotional and restrained. Immediately, the audience becomes emotionally invested in these two characters and is undoubtedly rooting for this love story. 

Tony Award Winner Steve Kazee is perfectly cast as Guy. His Tony Award is well-deserved for this incredible performance. He has a wonderful voice and he sings with such emotion and passion. Andrea Goss (understudy), who played Girl at both performances, was absolutely endearing. She did a great job of being funny in a serious way... and her accent was awesome! These two actors had great chemistry together, despite one being an understudy.  As a side-note-- if you go see Once and a little piece of paper falls out of your playbill with Andrea Goss’ name on it, do not be disappointed. She was amazing.  

As I’ve already said, the supporting cast is incredibly talented.  Elizabeth A. Davis, who plays Reza, received a Tony nomination for this role and I definitely feel that this Tony nomination represents the entire supporting cast of Once.  They are all first-rate talent and it’s nice that this was recognized at the Tony’s (in a way). 

If you want to see a musical that will make you laugh, cry, and be inspired, check out Once at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.