ONCE, THE MUSICAL - Ky Center for the Arts - Review

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I had the opportunity to see Once at the Kentucky Center last night and this is a show you will not want to miss.  It was the winner of b2ap3_thumbnail_once2.jpgeight Tony Awards in 2012 and it is easy to see why.  The music, the story, the staging in this show are all exceptional.

The show takes place in an Irish pub in Dublin in the style of a story being told for patrons at the pub.  The actors are all multi-talented musicians who play at least one instrument, if not several, sing, dance and act out different roles at varying times. There is no orchestra for the show as all the music is played by the actors on stage.

Once tells the story of a young man who has almost given up his passion for music to live a life of working in his father’s vacuum repair shop.  By fate, he meets a young woman who encourages him to follow his dreams and also finish the story he started with his ex-girlfriend who he still loves.  Over the course of a week, his entire life is changed.  The show is funny and heartbreaking, often at the same time. 

Stuart Ward plays "the Guy" and he is extremely talented.  His voice is simply amazing and he easily dominates the music numbers with his abilities.  Dani de Waal, in the role of "the Girl," has perfect comedic timing in addition to playing the piano skillfully.  The ensemble members also have amazing vocal talent and I could easily listen to them playing and singing songs for hours.  In fact, as you arrive to the theater and find your seats they are on stage playing and singing in the pub which perfectly sets the stage for the show.

One word of caution, the recommend age for the show is 10 and up.  However, there is some very strong language throughout the show.  I think I would recommend the show for high school aged kids.

The show only runs through this Sunday so don’t wait to get your tickets.  This is not your typical musical and I think it would appeal to a wide audience – both regular patrons of the theater as well as people who don’t normally attend musicals but like to see live bands play.


ONCE features the Academy Award-winning music and lyrics of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, a book by award-winning Irish playwright & screenwriter, Enda Walsh (Penelope, Hunger, The New Electric Ballroom), direction by the acclaimed Scottish director of Black Watch, John Tiffany, movement by Steven Hoggett (Black Watch, American Idiot) and music supervision and orchestrations by Martin Lowe (Mamma Mia!). The set and costume design are by five time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (The Coast of Utopia, Mary Poppins), lighting design is by Tony winner Natasha Katz (Aida, The Coast of Utopia), and sound design is by Clive Goodwin.


ONCE is the celebrated new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film. It tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music.  Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together.  Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, ONCE is a musical celebration of life and love: thrilling in its originality, daring in its honesty... and unforgettable in every way.

The 2007 Academy Award-winning film, ONCE, was written and directed by John Carney, and starred Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, with original music and lyrics by Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglová.

The Oscar winning independent Irish film, ONCE was made for $150,000. Shot in 17 days, it went on to gross $20M worldwide becoming a critically acclaimed international smash. It stars Glen Hansard, from the popular Irish Rock band The Frames, and Markéta Irglová. Glen and Markéta won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original song for “Falling Slowly,” the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Music, and the soundtrack was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

  • LOCATION: Kentucky Center, Whitney Hall

  • DATE(S)/TIME(S): Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • AGES: Recommended 10 and up

  • PRICE: Tickets start at $28.00

  • RUNNING TIME: Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes

You can purchase tickets by clicking here: http://www.kentuckycenter.org/Broadway/Once/Louisville/12905#tab-show-information-link