Running since February 2012 This sweet and moving musical based on the Irish independent film of the same title has captured the hearts of critics and audiences alike. Winner of 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
The Broadway production of Once closed January 4, 2015. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.
Set in a Dublin pub, "Once" is the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant who become unlikely friends and collaborators. Over the course of a single week they create an album of raw, emotional music, and their relationship evolves into a complicated romance.
The cast presents a rousing Irish jam session for 30 minutes before each performance. Audience members can visit the onstage bar for a pre-show drink or intermission refreshment....a remarkable bit of verisimilitude, and a rare treat for theatergoers who've always wanted to be on a Broadway stage!
This production originated at New York Theatre Workshop in the East Village. Here are some clips from the Off Broadway production - Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, who sing the Oscar winning song "Falling Slowly," are no longer in the production.
"Once" was directed by John Tiffany and choreographed by Steven Hoggett, creators of the National Theatre of Scotland's highly-acclaimed "Black Watch" (a theatrical collage about Scottish soldiers in Iraq - read about it here), and features sets and costumes by five-time Tony winner Bob Crowley.
For info on the 2006 Irish film "Once," click here.
2012 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Steve Kazee), Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestrations.
2012 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Lyrics, Outstanding Orchestrations.
2012 Outer Critics Circle Awards: Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical.
Pure, moving and inventive – these are the foundations of [this] irresistible production. Director Tiffany, playwright Walsh, choreographer Hoggett and a talented cast of 12 are faithful to the star-crossed story without following the celluloid version shot-for-shot, and they even add depth to peripheral figures in the film. New tunes from Hansard and Irglova and reprises of old ones have been gracefully added to the mix. Ultimately, this is a confident, well-constructed piece. It's sappy and melodramatic, yes, but seems to avoid getting stuck there, mainly thanks to its humor – charming Irish turns of phrases and funny characters – and those deeply moving songs.
Brimming with charm, "Once" has made a smooth transition from downtown to Times Square. The music is gorgeous. The show occasionally careers into Tweeland and choreographer Hoggett's "movement" resembles a parody of modern dance. But director Tiffany and his extraordinary designers suffuse the show with authenticity as do the exceptionally talented actor/musicians onstage. Happily, "Once" remains a rare combination of intelligence, warmth and musicality.
Boiled down to its essentials, the story is exactly as cloying as you might expect, but luckily the production's jiggy folksiness is tempered by thrifty staging, a series of loose, foot-stomping musical numbers, and some genuinely heartfelt moments that cut through the twee. Little has been altered from the show's successful Off Broadway run, and the smaller charms don't wither under the brighter spotlights. In all, it's like getting beaten over the head with a bowling-ball bag full of whimsy. You may wince, but eventually you'll succumb.
New York Daily News
The wonderful musical "Once" is the sweetest and most romantic show on Broadway and proves that not all love stories lead to the bedroom. Over its 2 1/2 hours "Once" weaves a spell that continually draws you in. Book writer Walsh found smart ways to expand the narrative. Director Tiffany and movement specialist Hoggett make songs and story flow in an imaginative fashion that can only be achieved on stage. All the actors are hugely talented and sing, play instruments and move furniture. The two leads are just plain spectacular.
New York Post
The show wins its standing ovations the old-fashioned way: with a love story, great songs, compelling characters and inventive stagecraft. All the cast members play their own instruments, reinforcing the idea that music is an integral part of the characters' lives. Even more impressive, the ensemble doesn't miss a beat when it simultaneously plays and steps out to the impressionistic choreography. Guy's songs have "heart and soul," Girl tells him. She might as well be describing this gem of a show.
New York Times
What was always wonderful about "Once," its songs and its staging, has been magnified. In the meantime its appealing stars, Kazee and Milioti, have only grown in presence and dimensionality. What lends a special, tickling poignancy to Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglova's songs is their acceptance of loneliness as an existential given. And because every member of the ensemble here is a musician, functioning as both the show's band and its cast of characters, this savory-sweet sadness feels both organic and universal. The supporting cast members are especially fine in their musical performances.
Time Out New York
"Once," the often glorious and inspiring, but also twee and attenuated musical...To be sure, there's no shortage of talent on the stage. John Tiffany stages the action in a unit pub set, with cast members watching from the sidelines. It's a neat concept, but it undercuts the material's poignant themes of social disconnection and stasis. The score's plangent folk ballads [are]sung with heartbreaking openness. But book writer Walsh's belabored humor, based mostly on lazily sketched supporting characters, begins to grate.
On a Broadway stage, the musical's pretensions loom large. The songs [are] actually derivative, mannered folk-pop tunes, most lifted from the film and all written by its stars, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The central love story is similarly precious, though Enda Walsh's libretto also dabbles in hokey ethnic humor. On the plus side, the music is beautifully orchestrated by Martin Lowe and played and sung with both gusto and discretion. You won't need aspirin here, at least.