Tony-winner is a Once-in-a-lifetime experience; The musical has a refreshingly simple and homespun feel

by Casey Murphy
The winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including best musical, Once is based on a film of the same name and tells the story of “Guy,” a down-on-his-luck Irishman living in Dublin with dreams of being a musician.
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Just as the young man is about to abandon his dream, he encounters a young Czech woman known as “Girl,” played by Cristina Milioti.  She goes to great lengths to pay for Guy to record an album, and in the process the two experience a complicated romance.
The unexpected ending is guaranteed to leave the audience with tears and smiles.
Once has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
“[The show] has a sweet, wistful quality about it that makes it engaging,” said senior Julia Mendes. “I was impressed by the multitalented cast.  I still found myself thinking about Once many days after seeing it.”
The music, written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, is achingly beautiful and the actors’ voices are close to flawless.
Unlike in most shows, there is no orchestra for Once.  Instead, the music is played by actors onstage with instruments such as pianos, acoustic guitars and banjos.
Each actor delivers an impressive performance, for the actors speak in accurate Irish and Czech accents that make the audience members truly believe they have been relocated to Dublin, Ireland.  The audience can feel raw emotion pour from each actor; the happiness, grief, heartbreak and joy are tangible.
Steve Kazee, who plays Guy, gives an impeccable, standout performance.  He effectively conveys the wounded and romantic nature of Guy in songs such as “Gold” and “Leave.”  Kazee was awarded the Tony for Best Actor in 2012.
The most well-known song from the musical is “Falling Slowly.”  The movie version of the song won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the live theatrical performance is breathtaking.  The song is performed beautifully by Kazee and Miloti.  The “Falling Slowly” reprise was the last song of the show and brought many members of  the audience to tears.
“Once has been getting such great reviews, which makes me really want to see it. Everyone says that the show is funny, but sad too. I’ve heard the music and it’s really beautiful and I’d love to see it live,” said sophomore Hallie Traiman.
The relatively small Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on West 45th Street is the home of Once, and it can seem overcrowded at first.  However, a unique feature allows the audience to line up in the aisles and get drinks from a bar on the stage.  The stage itself makes the room appear more open; it is low to the ground with a semi-circular shape and tarnished mirrors covering the walls.  The atmosphere sets the scene for the laid-back show.
Those who are not fond of flashy Broadway shows such as counterparts Newsies and Jersey Boys will enjoy the unique, mellow atmosphere of Once, which is sure to resonate with audiences for years to come.