A few weeks ago, Kat and I went to see Once The Musical for Broadway Week (2-for-1 tickets!) and I’ve been thinking about it ever since for a few reasons: (1) because 5% of me is an aspiring singer-songwriter just like one of the main characters, delightfully referred to as “Guy” in the Playbill (2) because 65% of me is a hopeless romantic, similar to the other main character, “Girl” (3) because the story and music is absolutely beautiful. I downloaded the soundtrack the very night I saw the musical and have been listening to “Falling Slowly” on repeat ever since. The version here features the original cast, Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti (the mother of HIMYM and who I once saw perform at UCB).
The story takes place in Ireland (another reason to love it) over just a few days. “Guy” gives up music because he has lost his love and thus, his inspiration. “Girl,” who he has just met, encourages him to continue playing. They start a band, record a demo, and, in the end, “Girl” teaches “Guy” to continue loving as well. Although in some ways, Once is a traditional love story, there is enough that sets the story apart for all to be satisfied.
Once is unique in many ways, not just in its ending. Each cast member plays an instrument for the majority of their time on stage – which led Kat and me to wonder if the actors knew how to play their respective instruments beforehand or if they learned after they were cast. In addition, the audience is encouraged to go on stage before the show and during intermission to order drinks from the working bar featured in the bar scenes of the show. If you’re heading to the show – which you should, no question about it – make sure to get there about a half hour before it starts to experience this and the lively folk music and dancing from the supporting cast.
Although there were many gems, including a bit on how proud a character is to be Irish (because we all are), my favorite quote from the show was, “You cannot walk through your life leaving unfinished love behind you.”
I fell quickly for Once. There is no unfinished love between us. Just real-life, pure, true love.