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Now showing, Closes 4 Jan 2015

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Transporting! Once is the most romantic show on Broadway. It speaks volumes about the power of music and connection.

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BWW Reviews: ONCE Upon A Time

A Broadway show to end the notion that every tale is a fairytale, though the title of this article would allude otherwise, Once finds its power in all things realistic rather than in a storybook romance. It takes the age old understanding that when a man and woman find each other everything else will work out and flips it on its head. While Hollywood and its cohorts would love for the public to believe that every story has a clear cut path, Once provides insight into what audience members already know. After all, the great Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde Once penned, "the truth is rarely pure and never simple." Once merely reiterates the fact.

The national tour of Once, directed by John Tiffany, opened last night at the Overture Center in the heart of the city of Madison. Inspired by the motion picture by John Carney of the same name, the show follows the star crossed musical courtship of the two people who penned the music and lyrics. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová are, in fact, believed to be the unnamed Guy and Girl of the Broadway production. With or without that knowledge, audience members are still bombarded for two and a half hours with a show bursting with tangible truths.

Surrounded by a semi-circular set adorned with mismatched mirrors, a concept designed by Bob Crowley, brings new meaning to the idea of art reflecting life. Particularly in scenes shared by two or more people even though, due to their placement on stage, only one person can be seen reflected in the largest mirror center stage. Thanks to the fascinating design by Crowley, those close enough to see what the mirrors hold can truly understand how the individual characters feel so alone; although they are encircled by those that love them.

In a folksy, no orchestra necessary, production the performers double as accompaniment as well as spectacle. Anyone who can sing, dance, and play the accordion at the same time (a nod to Donna Garner who plays Barúska) epitomizes what it means to be a true performer. Once does not require a fifty piece orchestra to inspire those who get the opportunity to see it. It simply demands a great deal from the band of characters that call the show their own.

From the unnamed starring duo, Dani de Waal and Stuart Ward who play Girl and Guy respectively, to the precocious Kolette Tetlow who traipses the stage as Girl's daughter Ivanka each character is inexplicably honest. Though Girl often quips that she is "always serious because I'm Czech", the cast gives each moment (heartbreaking and laughter inducting alike) a bold dose of honesty. De Waal's charming mannerisms had the audience "Falling Slowly" in love with her. While Ward's imitation of The King during his song "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy" had the audience rolling in the aisles, their portrayals are nothing without the absolute truth that thrives behind them. To the characters they embody, it is evident that they are not seeking means to an end. Rather, they are enjoying the journey.

Once is simple, pure, and honest. A path of least resistance is never found. Characters' lives get messy. This mesmerizing production gives meaning to life. Life is about the journey and will not unravel at the will of man. At the end of it all, the show has a grander message on the life of mankind to provide. The guy meets the girl, the guy falls for the girl, the two have a child, the child grows up, the cycle starts again and it all happens Once.

Article reprinted with permission from

What You Say

5 reviews, average rating: (4.1 Stars)

Frances Kavanagh.: “Once”

Uplifting, gracious, from Dublin Ireland. "once" would love to see it aga... more

Frances Kavanagh.: “Once”

Uplifting, gracious, from Dublin Ireland. "once" would love to see it aga... more

Joy O.: “Go For The Music”

I loved the sweet, simple story and the emotion- packed music. If y... more

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