The New York Times first reported the news of the Off-Broadway bow. As previously reported on Playbill.com, acclaimed Irish playwright Enda Walsh (Penelope, Walworth Farce and New Electric Ballroom) wrote the libretto, and songs have been penned by the film's actor-musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The songwriters co-wrote the picture's Oscar-winning Best Original Song, "Falling Slowly," which is expected to be part of the stage musical. (The film's writer-director was John Carney.)
A Broadway debut in fall 2011 was previously announced by the producers John N. Hart, Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody, Fred Zollo, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The producers are opting for a more modest launch, downtown on East Fourth Street at NYTW (where Rent began), with an eye toward a Broadway move.
Once had a pre-Broadway workshop presentation recently American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA.
John Tiffany, who earned critical praise for the National Theatre of Scotland production of Black Watch, will direct Once. American Idiot and Peter and the Starcatcher choreographer Steven Hoggett, who also staged the military maneuvers in Black Watch, will provide musical staging. Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (The Coast of Utopia, Aida, Mary Poppins) is scenic designer. Martin Lowe was previously announced as the music director.
"In recent years, Enda Walsh, John Tiffany, Bob Crowley, and Steven Hoggett have been responsible for some of the most groundbreaking theatre in New York and around the world," producer John N. Hart said in an earlier statement. "It's a dream come true to have them all working together to bring Once to the stage." The film follows a down-and-out Dublin street performer who encounters a young Czech immigrant flower seller, who is taken with his music. Named only "Guy" and "Girl," the duo begin a music-fueled relationship where they spend a week writing and performing music together. The tale culminates in a nightlong recording session for a demo which they hope will land them a music contract in London. While only one of them ever makes it to London, the impact of their relationship leaves them both changed.
The independent Irish film was made for under $150,000, was shot in 17 days, and went on to gross over $10,000,000, becoming a critically acclaimed international smash. Songwriters Hansard and Irglová have toured the world, performing songs from the Grammy-nominated soundtrack. Watch the songwriters' Academy Award acceptance speeches here.
In the ART workshop, according to the Times, the would-be lovers were played by Steve Kazee (Broadway's 110 in the Shade) and Cristin Milioti (NYTW's The Little Foxes, Manhattan Theatre Club's That Face).