We at Miller are quite excited to host Once the Musical on January 25th and 26th. Thomasina, our Office Coordinator and Bethany, our Marketing Specialist have both presented a little bit of background to Once the Musical and their experiences viewing the preview show in Chicago!
Thomasina on Once
So a few months back, June to be exact, I went on my first official preview trip to see Once the Musical in Chicago. I wasn’t planning on going, because usually when the opportunity arises to preview a show, it fills up pretty quickly as there are a limited amount of seats. In addition to that, I have three kids at home, so my schedule doesn’t always permit free time. However, after much nudging from my co-workers and spouse I was able to grab the last open spot.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially since I’ve never even heard of the production before. I knew there would be music but that was about it. Other than that I wasn’t aware of the storyline. There was one thing, though, that I was told that stuck out to me – you could go on stage before and at intermission to get a beverage. Different, right? Well it was. And I’ll explain why in a moment.
But before I do, when we arrived in Chicago, before the matinee performance, we stopped to grab a bite to eat. Why is this important? Because after we walked over to the cupcake ATM. A cupcake ATM, people.
Why aren’t these everywhere on every corner?!
Ok, back to Once.
When we stepped inside the Cadillac Palace auditorium, the musicians were already on stage jamming away. I’m talking, guitars, violins, drums, banjos and cellos. The sound was infectious and so very amazing. The moment we sat down, it felt like you were instantly transported from Chicago to Dublin directly inside a quaint, local pub.
Once Guy and Girl finally come into play, no pun intended, their chemistry instantly grabs a hold of your heart strings. And honestly, I’m still waiting for them to be released. Seeing the connection they had in combination with hearing the songs they had together, “Falling Slowly,” “If You Want Me” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” it’s easy to understand why you get so emotionally invested.
Once, the Musical is in a genre of its own. I mean, if you were to ask me to name a show that is similar to this, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Everything about it is unique, personal and intimate. The actors play their own instruments. The set is open. The stage is inviting. It truly is like nothing I’ve experienced with a stage production before.
If you are looking for a “new favorite” or this is your first time seeing a Broadway show, I recommend seeing Once. I’ve seen a few shows in the past and it’s like you’re a spectator, anxiously awaiting and watching everything unfold. However, with Once it’s like you are in the show and a part of the story. It is truly amazing how that one detail of being able to walk onstage eliminated the invisible wall down between the actors and the audience and created a sense of vulnerability for that Once moment. Where that one thing almost happened and it changed your life in a way you can never imagine or forget.
Bethany on Once
Hiya, Once super fan here. Would just like to start by telling you that I received the Once movie and the Once original Broadway cast recording for Christmas. The cast recording has been in regular rotation at my house and in my car. My husband has been singing ‘Falling Slowly’ for weeks now and it is also the most requested song in my car.
I was fortunate enough to also see the Once tour in Chicago, along with Thomasina and the other Miller staff members. I knew a little about the show going in, but my full super fan-ness, didn’t take over until after the show, when I became a little obsessed. Not only am I excited to see the show live on the Miller stage, but I am excited to share this lovely show with the Kalamazoo community.
To give a little background, it all started with the 2007 movie, Once, which stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová and is definitely worth viewing. While the overall story is the same, the feel of the stage show is quite different. Hansard is an Irish singer songwriter and half of the folk rock duo The Swell Season with Irglová. Though I love the original film, Once the musical has a much more immersive feel. You get to know the supporting characters more. Since you’re there in the audience, and in the moment as they create beautiful music, you are caught up in the story and the lives of these characters.
Something that is unique to this musical is that not only does the cast have to be amazingly talented vocalists, but they have to be skilled musicians as well. They sing—and play—all the songs live on stage. Something I would definitely recommend watching, is this behind this scenes video of the original Broadway cast recording the soundtrack: https://youtu.be/KfeRdH4Q_sg. Such a beautiful song–and the original film version won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards for Hansard and Irglová.
We were very fortunate to preview the show in Chicago last year and after the show, we even had the opportunity, through one of our show representatives, to tour the stage and to talk about our Once engagement at Miller Auditorium. While we were backstage, we met the cast member who played Guy and even were able to exit via the stage door, where we were greeted by fans who quickly realized we were not Once cast members.
I am glad that we have such a unique and beautiful show as part of our Broadway season and I hope you enjoy Once as much as I did. And, if after the show, you start listening to the soundtrack on repeat, you are in good company.
You can purchase Once the Musical tickets here!