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    Last night, Once premiered at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. The Tony and Oscar winning show is a part of the Broadway Across America season. If I had to pick three words to describe Once, they would be simple, beautiful, and bittersweet.

    Simple: The production, while minimalistic in nature, is still very creative. There is only one set, but it is adorned with mirrors making it possible to see angles of the play that you normally wouldn’t see. For example, “Girl” (played by Dani de Waal) performs the Oscar winning song “Falling Slowly” at the end of the show, and you can actually see her fingers grace the piano by looking in the mirrors on the set. This view would otherwise be impossible since the back of the piano is facing the crowd. When the actors aren’t in a scene, they simply move to the side of the stage and sit down instead of going completely off stage. This seemingly minute change gives the audience the sense that the friends and family of “Guy” and “Girl” are watching the events of their lives unfold before them too. The comedic elements are simple too. The dry Irish humor of the production is delivered perfectly by the actors.

    Beautiful: From the very first note of the very first song, there is a noticeable greatness in the quality of these ballads. It is apparent that these songs were written with feeling, but it is even more apparent that they are being played with feeling. “Guy” (played by Stuart Ward) pours his heart and soul into each and every one. It is also fascinating to see these multi-talented people not only acting but also performing with such virtuosity on their instruments. If for no other reason, go to this play to hear the songs. “Falling Slowly” is obviously a favorite, but I also really enjoyed “If You Want Me” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up.” Even the Czech and Irish folk songs that are performed before the play are gorgeous and make the start of the play a seamless transition. The dancing is also beautiful, and its interpretive nature matched the songs very well.

    Bittersweet: If you’ve seen the movie, you know the ending is bittersweet. The typical “happily ever after” ending of Broadway shows isn’t present. What you want to happen doesn’t, which makes the story all the more engaging because it is true to life. If you haven’t seen the movie, I actually suggest that you don’t watch it before you go. The play is infinitely better. The actors are much more believable, and the character development and the story make more sense.

    As you can tell, this play is not your average Broadway show. The audience must use their imagination, but it is an elegant love story told in exactly the way it should be – simple, beautiful, and bittersweet.

    Once will finish its run this Sunday (January 25th), so get your tickets now at www.kentuckycenter.org. Tickets start at just $28 with options including evening and matinee performances. For more information about Broadway Across America in Louisville, visit louisville.broadway.com.

     

     

    Photos provided by Broadway Across America.

    Jenna Foster's picture

    About Jenna Foster

    Hi! My name is Jenna. I am a music teacher at a primary school. I love teaching because you get to feel like a rockstar without all the fuss of being famous. My hobbies include cosplay, reading, music, traveling, and collecting vintage clothes and records.

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