I loved the movie Once.
So much that I boycotted the musical when it opened off-Broadway . The original stars weren’t in it — how could the musical compare?
My heart was closed.
Then the show moved to Broadway, and the TV commercials began. Yes, ‘guy’ and ‘girl’ were different, but their voices, the harmonies were as beautiful as the movie that inspired them. So I decided to give the show a shot.
Last night I was in the audience for Once on Broadway. I loved the staging, a working Irish bar — they even served drinks during intermission — that was transformed throughout the evening by creative lighting. Every actor also played an instrument, so there was no orchestra pit.
Most importantly, every voice, every note was perfection. There were a lot of tears in the audience. (People were talking about it as they left the theatre, so it wasn’t just me.)
The only thud in the production — which occurred at the start of the play and made me sad — was the playwright’s need to ‘funny up’ the script, making the characters extreme stereotypes of themselves. This was especially true of ‘girl,’ who was a quirky, jokey one-liner, which was counter to her gentle spirit in the movie.
But once she and ‘guy’ began to sing, she softened and the music drove the show, as it did the movie.
And all was forgiven.