Monday, March 19, 2012

Once: the Musical Opens on Broadway

The musical adaptation of the heartwarming film Once has opened on Broadway. The reviews are in and are pretty stellar. Variety Magazine has stated that the movie "has been creatively expanded and adapted for the stage with terrific results ... to create a rhapsodic, unique stage musical that retains all the heart of the original Irish film. Once may not be enough for this impeccably made show."

One of the major draws of the show is that the cast doubles as the orchestra, but in a way that makes this a central plot device rather than a gimmick (think of the John Doyle revivals of Sweeney Todd and Company in recent years). In addition to this, the music is gorgeous. The physical production has also been highly lauded, from Bob Crowley's set and costumes to Natasha Katz' lighting. "The two leads are exceptional," says Variety Magazine, as both actors and musicians. "Paul Whitty, Andy Taylor and David Patrick Kelly stand out among the excellent ensemble, along with Elizabeth A. Davis for both her acting and viola skills."

The Times also brought up the point that space is relevant. Ben Brantley said, "Sometimes how cool you look depends on where you’re standing. When I first saw the musical Once at the New York Theater Workshop last December, it registered as a little too twee, too conventionally sentimental, for the East Village. Yet on Broadway — at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater to be exact, where Once opened on Sunday night — what is essentially the same production feels as vital and surprising as the early spring that has crept up on Manhattan." He also noted the production design and leading actors as being top notch.

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