"Once" – The Journey from Acclaimed Indie Film to Multi-Award-Winning Musical

Beth Fhaner
 | Aug 01, 2017

Once Movie Poster

Other popular musicals based on movies:
  • Waitress (2016)
  • An American in Paris (2015)
  • Kinky Boots (2013)
  • Newsies (2012)
  • Xanadu (2007)
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005)
  • Mary Poppins (2004)
  • Hairspray (2002)
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002)
  • Mamma Mia! (2001)
  • The Full Monty (2000)
  • The Producers (2001)
  • The Lion King (1997)
  • Sunset Boulevard (1995)
  • Beauty and the Beast (1994)
  • Passion (1994)
  • Grand Hotel (1989)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1982)
  • Nine (1982)
  • 42nd Street (1980)
  • A Little Night Music (1973)
  • Sweet Charity (1966)
Once Oscar

Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová with their Oscars for "Falling Slowly."

Based on the 2006 indie film by Irish filmmaker John Carney, Once was adapted into a stage musical with a book by Enda Walsh and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (who both starred in the original film). It made its off-Broadway debut in 2011 and then went on to Broadway in 2012, winning eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Director and Best Actor. The charming story of an Irish busker named “Guy” and a quirky Czech immigrant named “Girl” who spend a week together in Dublin—where they bond over their songwriting and fall in love—connected with critics and audiences alike. The film won the audience awards at both the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and the Dublin Film Festival in 2007, and its subsequent theatrical release enjoyed tremendous box office success. Besides appearing on many North American critics' top 10 lists of the best films of 2007, Once garnered the Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film and the song “Falling Slowly” won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song. 

Once on Broadway

Cristin Milioti and Steve Kazee in the Broadway production of Once.

The musical version of Once, with a book by Enda Walsh, was originally developed at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. in 2011, and it was first performed at New York Theatre Workshop in November 2011. Following the New York Theatre Workshop’s production, the musical then transferred to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York, in March 2012, where it won eight Tony Awards. The musical also won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

The musical’s narrative action follows that of the film, where Guy and Girl meet through a shared love of music and form a deep connection that transcends an everyday romance. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians, who play their own instruments onstage, Once uses a minimalist set that includes a bar in center stage. Providing the audience with an interactive experience, the bar is used before the show and at intermission as a working bar for theatre patrons to come onstage and order a drink.

Once premiered in Europe at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre in February 2013 before transferring to the Phoenix Theatre in London in April 2013. Continuing to captivate audiences around the world, the inspiring and romantic musical has since had two North American national tours as well as productions in Australia, South Korea and Toronto; Once returned to Dublin in late 2015.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see this Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical on SCR’s Segerstrom Stage from September 2-30.