There's something special about walking into Proctors and seeing the stage filled with members of the audience enjoying a drink on stage while listening to live music minutes before a TONY-Winning national tour performance begins. Then Once starts and dare I say it? A wonderful modern-day folklore fairy tale of sorts unfolds.
Our main characters appear. "Guy" laments the woes of a broken heart as "Girl" approaches him. Will it be as it appears to the naked eye? Will a story in a bar begin? No, something much deeper internally and externally develops. Brilliant story telling mixed with breath taking melodies played by a fantastic cast is what gets you the TONY Award for Best Musical, even though I still feel that Newsies was on the same impactful level. There's nothing we can do about it now. So it's time to enjoy Once.
Based on the film of the same name, ONCE tells the story of "GUY" and "GIRL" as their fast-paced friendship grows, helping them develop within themselves and their music. The characters they meet along the way make their journey that much more interesting.
Sam Cieri plays the role of "GUY". Cieri brings a conviction and heartbroken, soulful sound to the role. Add to that a tall, handsome, gruff build and the outward looks and sounds of a tough Irishman and you're in love with or want this guy to be your new friend. Even with his rough absorbent edges.
Mackenzie Lesser-Roy plays "GIRL" with such a strong, sweet, and staunch manner that you'll fall in love with her in moments. The young tough Czech exterior adds to the laughs and conviction. Her intimate moments and duets with with Cieri will leave you on the edge of your seat. When the two perform the song "Falling Slowly," you two will soon do the same thing for both of them.
Each actor plays at least one instrument. Sometimes while sitting on the side of the stage watching the show unfold. Sometimes while playing center stage. Sometimes they're playing while dancing in uniform and sometimes they're running in an X-formation to transition scenes. One thing is for sure - the sound is magical. If you're a fan of Irish, Irish Rock, or Folklore music, this show is for you.
The entire supporting cast gives hopeful and beautiful performances. There's heartbreak, there's laughter, there's music, there's breathtaking moments - and it all happens once in their lifetime. It's somewhat realistic, somewhat transcendent, and somewhat filled with hope.
The large set with intimate spaces works as it creates the home, office, music room, and so much more. Think about it, you've likely heard many interesting stories at the bar, right? Let Once tell you an even better tale.
I'll admit, I've never gotten over the fact that Newsies lost to Once in so many of the awards shows but it's a different beautiful type of show that will move you.