Broadway-Aimed Once, the Musical That Has Crowds "Falling Slowly," Opens in NYC

By Kenneth Jones
06 Dec 2011

Elizabeth A. Davis and Cristin Milioti in Once.
photo by Joan Marcus

Here's how NYTW characterizes the work: "On the streets of Dublin, an Irish musician (Guy) and a Czech immigrant (Girl) are drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, an unexpected friendship and collaboration quickly evolves into a powerful but complicated love story, underscored by the emotionally charged music that has made Once an international sensation."

The creative team also includes sound designer Clive Goodwin, dialect coach Stephen Gabis, vocal supervisor Liz Caplan Vocal Studios, production stage manager Bess Marie Glorioso and assistant stage manager Katherine Shea.

The independent Irish film "Once" was made for $150,000; shot in 17 days; and grossed $20 million worldwide.

Hansard and Irglová won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Music, and the film's soundtrack was nominated for two Grammy Awards. "Falling Slowly" won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Commercial producers attached to the show's future are John N. Hart, Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody, Fred Zollo, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The producers first announced a fall 2011 Broadway launch, but opted for a more modest kickoff at NYTW. A 2012 Broadway life is expected, but not officially announced as of Dec. 6.

Although commercial producers have shepherded Once, NYTW artistic director James C. Nicola, when pressed by, couldn't help celebrating that the show was under his East Fourth Street roof. He said, "NYTW strives to remind its audiences that experiencing an act of creative expression is as important to maintaining a healthy, balanced human life as wearing your galoshes in case of a rainstorm, or brushing your teeth twice a day. These acts, when practiced regularly, promote well-being, and prevent disease — of both the mind and the body. I believe experiencing Once does exactly this — it heals. It celebrates the act of communing, of gathering together to accomplish a larger purpose, of making something bigger than is possibly individually. It gets us in touch, in a bleak age of isolation and voracity, with a profound truth: that sometimes, all too rarely, as a species, we can collectively do good instead of evil, that we can make beauty instead of ugliness and, in the doing, perhaps redeem ourselves just a little."


Hansard, the frontman for the Irish alternative rock band The Frames, and Czech singer-songwriter Irglová went on a world tour after the "Once" soundtrack album went gold in early 2008. With some members of The Frames, they released a follow up album, "Strict Joy," under the name The Swell Season, in the fall of 2009. They now tour with that group.

The regular performance schedule for Once is Tuesday through Wednesday at 7 PM; Thursday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM and 7 PM. There will be an additional performance on Dec. 19 at 7 PM. There will also be a special student matinee on Dec. 14 at 1 PM.

NYTW also has $25 student tickets available for all performances. Student tickets may be purchased in advance from the NYTW Box Office with valid student identification. The NYTW Box office is open 1-6 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

Once tickets start at $75 and may be purchased online at, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or by phoning Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit

New York Theatre Workshop is at 79 E. 4th Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village.