Once is Pure Gold

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Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal shine in Once. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Once is a love story, just not the one you might expect. Centered around two musicians, one Irishman and one Czech women, Once is really about the love of music.

You might remember Once (2006) as the sleeper-hit film that only took 17 days and $150,000 to make and went on to gross $20 million and win an Academy Award. Like the film, the touring musical is charming, lyrical, and simply gorgeous. For those of you who have seen the film, take note that the stage version is lighter in tone and feels more like a romantic comedy than the indie film.

What’s really special about the musical is that it’s an actor/muso, which means that all of the music is played by the actors in the show. There’s no invisible orchestra playing in a pit, so there’s no separation between the audience and performers. With dozens of mirrors on the back wall of the stage, theater-goers really get to see the virtuosic performers at every angle.

Once is about the beauty of friendship, collaboration, love, and music. It tells the story of a brokenhearted Irish musician and a Czech woman who meet and, over the course of a week, find healing in the music they create together. It’s nuanced, grounded, funny, and sometimes, even a little tragic.

Both lead actors (Stuart Ward and Dani De Waal) manage to balance a Broadway-level performance with a subdued folk tone. And the ensemble a capella reprise of “Gold” in Act II is simply showstopping.

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Unlike a traditional musical, the actors of Once play the musical accompaniments of the show. Photo by Joan Marcus.

If you love folk music and charming love stories, Once is your kind of show. You’ll enjoy the ensemble of musicians and performers as they weave around the stage playing violins, guitars, and pianos while singing beautifully harmonized folk music.

Don’t miss your chance to see this high energy performance! Once will play at the Community Center Theater through April 19. Tickets range from $22-$99 and are available by phone at (916) 557-1999, online at tickets.com, or in person at the Wells Fargo Pavilion box office. For more information, visit the musical’s Sacramento365.com event page here.

This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com contributor Allison Baker.