Once: Moved and Inspired

If you believe in music, hope, and love, go see Once. If you don’t, go see it anyway and you’ll be inspired to believe. And if you’re a singer (or other kind of musician) definitely go see it to appreciate the musicianship and the keep-making-your-music-someone-will-hear-you message.


Pre-show jam on stage. Broadway. NYC, 2014.

When Baritone Boy and I made our way to the theater, we’d both had a long day and were low on energy. We were in the midst of packing to move (and wow is moving in NYC a pain), and at one point I even wished we hadn’t gotten the tickets so we could just stay home and keep packing. That all changed once we walked into the theater. The house lights were up, the stage lights were up, and the cast was on stage playing and singing before the show even began. It was warm, relaxed, and inviting, and I was very glad we made it.

Here are a few moments/details that stuck with me:

  • There’s no pit orchestra — every cast member plays in the on-stage orchestra.
  • “Gold” and the ensemble/orchestra playing and dancing. I can see why this is often the go-to excerpt
  • The a cappella return of “Gold” — beautiful blending and tuning that showed off the ensemble work
  • The little lights representing the city of Dublin
  • The Czech supertitles
  • When Guy first plays one of his home-made recordings for Girl
  • The soap opera

Before the show. Broadway. NYC, 2014.

Once was simple; a single set, minimal costume changes, no smoke or lasers beams. It layered on basic elements creatively and cleverly to hook us and keep us enthralled.  It let the music and musicianship shine in an intimate and honest way. The production was beautiful in its simplicity, and one of the major reasons why it stands out from the other shows I’ve seen.

On a more personal note, the doubts and hopes explored, the coming together of a community, the support and encouragement struck a chord with me as a singer pursuing music as a profession. My life story isn’t the storyline of Once, but seeing a musician (even a fictional one) come out of uncertainty with momentum and brimming with inspiration gives me hope.

Once closes on Broadway on January 4th, 2015. That’s just a few days away, which is why my first post of 2015 is about a closing show and isn’t an end of year reflection or musing on fresh start and a new year. I’ll try to get something like that together very soon. It does, however, feel good to have my first post of a new year be about inspiration, hope, and music. In the meantime, please catch Once while you can!


2 responses to “Once: Moved and Inspired

  1. Hi Joyce,
    Too bad that Ida and I cannot make it to New York to see ONCE before it closes. Happy New Year from both of us. We hope your move to your new dwelling will please you once the hassle is over.
    Love, Bill and Ida

    • I read that Once is touring still, so perhaps it’ll pop by San Diego for a visit and you can enjoy it there! The move was very hectic – I helped unpack a little before coming back to California for Christmas, and Baritone Boy did the rest (he’s wonderful!). I look forwad to enjoying the new place once I go back. Happy New Year, Ida and Bill!

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