New Block of Seats on Sale Friday, March 8 at noon
Due to overwhelming demand, SpeakEasy Stage Company has added seven more performances of its acclaimed production of the Tony Award-winning musical ONCE.The show will now play through Sunday, April 7, 2019.
The entire original cast will remain for the additional week of performances. The new block of seats for these additional performances will go on sale this Friday, March 8, 2019 at noon.
Based on the 2007 Irish film written and directed by John Carney, ONCEemploys an exceptional ensemble of actor-musicians to tell the story of an unlikely romance between a down-on-his-luck Dublin street musician and a determined Czech immigrant who inspires him to dream.Featuring a book by Enda Walsh, and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, ONCEis a charming tale that reminds us of the importance of pursuing our dreams and the power music has to connect us all.
SpeakEasy General Manager Paul Melone directed this production of ONCE. Winner of two Elliot Norton Awards for his direction of the musicals Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2013) and Adding Machine: A Musical (2010), Mr. Melone also directed the company’s Boston premieres ofCarrie: The Musical; reasons to be pretty; The Little Dog Laughed; Fat Pig; The Moonlight Room; Our Lady of 121st Street; and The Shape of Things.
Also on the artistic team are Steven Ladd Jones (music director) and Ilyse Robins (choreographer).
Nile Scott Hawver and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy play the lead roles of Guy and Girl.Jacob Brandt, Billy Butler, Clara Cochran, Chris Coffey, Reagan Gardiner, Billy Meleady, Robert X. Newman, Marta Rymer, Stephen Shore, Jeff Song, Kathy St. George, and Ellie van Amerongen make-up the ensemble of actor-musicians.
The design team is Eric Levenson (scenic); Rachel Padula-Shufelt (costumes); Karen Perlow (lighting); and Andrew Duncan Will (sound).
ONCE will now run through Sunday, April 7, 2019, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.
For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call the box office at 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com .
Once, the Tony Award winning musical based on the 2007 movie of the same name, is a love story that takes place over five days in Dublin, Ireland. The lead characters are called simply Guy and Girl. The cast is made up primarily of musicians who play their instruments on stage during the performance. This gives a coffeehouse feel to the work.
Guy, played by Nile Scott Hawver, is a singer/songwriter who is despondent after having broken up with his girlfriend. She was the inspiration for his songs, and he has now decided to give up music.
Girl, an “always serious” Czech pianist, played by MacKenzie Lesser-Roy, sees Guy discard his guitar on the street and approaches him. Guy is put off by her aggressiveness as she pushes him to pick up his instrument. He resists, and then “destiny” steps in.
It turns out Guy repairs Hoovers, as in vacuum cleaners, for a living, and it just happens that Girl has a Hoover in need of repair. This sets the stage for the pretty predictable story that follows.
The two begin to fall in love, but that love will not be able to blossom for a number of reasons; however, they both have much to give to and learn from each other in the time they spend together. Until they met each other they were both stuck, and from each other they have come to understand they cannot remain that way. As Guy says, “Don’t be wastin’ life ‘cause you’re frightened of it”.
Along the way there is much music and many characters, including Guy’s Da (father) and Girl’s mother, Baruska, played by Billy Meleady and Kathy St.George. Girl has a young daughter, Ivonka, who was played by Reagan Gardiner at the performance I attended. Clara Cochran also plays Ivonka in alternating appearances. Add to this a number of Girl’s Czech friends and the local Dubliners and you get some interesting cross cultural interactions.
While the story is pretty basic and the music is not of the type you will be singing to yourself as you leave the theater, the production is uplifting and enjoyable. Ilyse Robbins has done a splendid job in choreographing the musicians, all of whom are first rate. The set design, mostly brick with wood floors, is warm and welcoming while the lighting accents the colors and frames the actors in a way that keeps them from becoming too large on the small stage of the Robert’s Theatre. It is all splendidly done.
I want to make special mention of Billy Butler who plays Billy, the owner of a recording studio. Mr. Butler is quick and sharp with some great lines. He is a pugnacious character who has to temper his fighting spirit because he has a bad back. Of course, his back seems fine until he appears ready to fight. I was quite impressed with Mr. Butler’s sharp performance and well timed facial expressions.
Nile Scott Hawver and MacKenzie Lesser-Roy are charming as Guy and Girl. Both have delightful voices and are accomplished musicians. They convey warmth and understanding in their lines to each other. By the end of the two hour performance you will find you really like both of the characters.
The rest of the cast are also very good. While most are musicians they also display excellent acting talent and are quite comfortable on the theatrical stage.
This is my first time seeing Once. It was originally an off Broadway work that moved to Broadway. While it had great success there and won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, I get the feeling it works best in a smaller theatre such as the Robert’s. As I wrote at the beginning, it has a coffeehouse feel to it, and seeing it staged so well on this small stage makes me believe this is how it should be experienced.
Once is a nice story, and The Speakeasy Stage Company production of it is pitch perfect. I doubt it was serendipitous that a love story set in Dublin would happen to arrive on a Boston stage during St. Patricks Day, but it is a nice treat. And get there early as the cast puts on a lively little musical session before the play begins that you won’t want to miss.
Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Book By Enda Walsh
Music and Lyric By Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova