Go Early and See It With Someone You Love
By Skip Sheffield
Go to “Once” early and mingle with the cast onstage. The exuberant Irish musical continues through Oct. 18 at Broward Center for the Arts.
An Irish pub is the setting for “Rush,” so a working bar is set up onstage, where the audience is invited to belly up to the bar and perhaps sing along with the musicians.
“Once” began as a 2007 low-budget musical film set in Dublin, Ireland. Glen Hansard played an itinerant street musician whose day job was working with his dad repairing Vacuum cleaners. One day a Czech immigrant flower girl (Marketa Irglova) heard ‘The Guy” (he is not given a name) play. In order to get to know him better, she asks for him to fix her Hoover vacuum cleaner. So begins a mutual attraction that blossoms into love. The songs that were in the movie and the subsequent Broadway show that won eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, were written by Hansard and Irglova.
The national touring production that is visiting Broward Center stars British actors Stuart Ward as “The Guy” and Dani de Waal as “The Girl.” A multi-national supporting cast sings and plays various instruments. This makes the show uniquely organic, as if it were being made up on the spot. There are two female fiddlers (Erica Spyres and Claire Wellin) and additional musicians doubling on various instruments including piano, guitar, banjo, accordion, concertina, mandolin, ukulele, electric bass and percussion. Stuart Ward plays guitar and Dani de Waal plays piano and they harmonize beautifully on the score’s best song, “Falling Slowly.”
“Once” is a musician’s delight, and its book, by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, is a romantic parable that appeals to anyone who has ever been in love or has loved and lost. That pretty much is all of us, which explains the universal appeal of “Once.”
Tickets are $35-$125 at TicketMaster. Call 800-745-3000 or 954-462-0222.