Theatre Review “Once” National Tour – Orlando, FL


“Once” National Tour
January 28th – February 2nd
Bob Car Performing Arts Centre
401 West Livingston Street
Orlando, FL 32801-1413

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Before “Once” was such a big deal and became an Academy Award winning film (for Best Song “Falling Slowly” in 2007), I was already a huge fan of the film and its music. When the show was produced as a stage play on Broadway, I thought that it couldn’t have made a better fit for that format. And not surprisingly it ended up winning eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Living here in Orlando, FL sometimes it can be harder to catch Broadway’s best but luckily we have the treasure that is Bob Car Performing Arts Centre, which delivers the best of Broadway right in the center of city of Orlando. When the national tour dates were announced for “Once”, I couldn’t have been more excited.

I have had the privilege of interviewing both leads in this touring play, Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal (click on their names for respective interviews). They are really talented and do great justice to this beautiful piece of work. They add something special and unique to each of the songs, which I instantly fell in love with. I have been listening to the “Once” soundtrack consistently since 2007 and only to be slightly replaced with the 2012’s Broadway Original Cast Recording. So I am not only a fan but I feel like this music speaks to me on a much deeper level. When I was listening (and singing along) during this play, I feel like they really nails these tracks and delivered the soul that would be expected from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

“Once” is quite the stage experience and features a very impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage. The supporting cast to this play are also outstanding and really wrap up the show with a red ribbon. High regards go out to Evan Harrington, who plays Billy, for a particularly great performance. Prior to the show starting, you were able to get up on stage and walk around to feel like you are a part of the show. The cast then came out and started just riffing and playing fun music for the audience to enjoy. Ray Bokhour, who played Da, had a really beautiful and touching go at the song “On Raglan Road” and hang the audience near tears. When the show did start it blended in so well from the pre-show that if you didn’t know the music, you wouldn’t have even realized it started.

The set was extremely simple and has no changes besides the enter/exit of some chairs and music equipment. Pretty much the whole cast is on the cast throughout the whole show playing along with their instruments and adding to each of these wonderful songs. The story itself if you are not familiar follows a Dublin street musician who is about to give up on his dream when he meets a beautiful young woman who encourages him to keep going and do something with his songs. The two get closer overtime and work on their music… but this isn’t your fairy tale romance as events become much more complex in their time together. I cannot recommend this play any higher. It is emotionally gripping and will leave you hanging on to every note of its beautiful music. Congrats to the national tour cast since they simply nailed it.

Click here to purchase tickets during the show’s stop in Orlando and also be sure to check out the schedule for the remainder of the national tour!

Miami, FL (The Adrienne Arsht Center)
Feb. 4 – 9, 2014

Tampa, FL (Straz Center)
Feb. 11 – 16, 201

Fort Myers, FL (Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall)
Feb. 18 – 23, 2014

New Haven, CT (Shubert Theater)
Feb. 26 – March 2, 2014

Atlanta, GA (Fox Theatre)
March 4 – 9, 2014

Pittsburgh, PA (Benedum Center)
March 11 – 16, 2014

Rochester, NY (Auditorium Theatre)
March 18 – 23, 2014

Buffalo, NY (Shea’s Performing Arts Center)
March 25 – 30, 2014

Minneapolis, MN (Orpheum Theatre)
April 1 – 6, 2014

St. Louis, MO (The Fox Theatre)
April 8 – 20, 2014

Des Moines, IA (Civic Center of Greater Des Moines)
April 22 – 27, 2014

Tempe, AZ (ASU Gammage)
April 29 – May 4, 2014

Denver, CO (Buell Theatre)
May 6 – 18, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (Smith Center for the Performing Arts)
May 20 – 25, 2014

Seattle, WA (The Paramount Theatre)
May 27 – June 8, 2014

Portland, OR (Keller Auditorium)
June 10 – 15, 2014

San Francisco, CA (Curran Theatre)
June 17 – July 13, 2014

Los Angeles, CA (Pantages Theatre)
July 15 – Aug. 10, 2014

San Diego, CA (Civic Center)
Aug. 12 – 17, 2014

Costa Mesa, CA (Segerstrom Hall)
Aug. 19 – 31, 2014

Charlotte, NC (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center)
Sept. 30 – Oct. 5, 2014

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