The Broadway production of Once, a musical based on the successful 2006 film of the same name starring Irish and Czech musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, walked away the big winner at this year’s Tony Awards. The production clinched a total of eight awards including Best Direction of a Play and Best Musical.
Like the movie, the play features original songs and music by Hansard/Irglová including the Academy Award-winning hit Falling Slowly. At the Tonys, the song Gold was performed by Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti. The material, though, could not be nominated in the best Original Score category, having been written for (and already featured in) film. All of the songs were reworked for the play and rerecorded by the 13-member Broadway cast. Speaking to Czech TV, Markéta Irglová, was enthusiastic:
“The actors who were cast in the different roles are perfect. They took the music, reworked it, and I think it was better they approached things this way.”
Over the course of the evening, the word “Once” was heard, well, repeatedly, with the play converting eight of 11 nominations. Steve Kazee (in Hansard’s original role) won the award for Best Actor in a Musical:
John Tiffany won for Best Direction. Here is how he approached Once (the story of an immigrant Czech flower seller and a musician in Dublin):
“The challenge for me was to try and see what the heart was of the warmth of those songs and the warmth of the love story.”
The producers, accepting the Tony for Best Musical also remembered to name both Hansard and former real-life partner Irglová, in their speech:
“We thank Glen Hansard and Markéta and John Carney for the original film. The creative tonight... boy are they good! And how about that company of Kazee and Milioti!”
The Tony awards are given for excellence in theatre and are the widely considered the standard, the Broadway equivalent of the Oscars: with a major haul at the Tonys this year, Once – the musical – continues the original ‘Cinderella story’. The original film won over both critics and audiences after having spent years in development and after being completed on a shoestring budget.
The Broadway version, on stage just three months, has clearly built on and transformed the original film’s success. With its domination at this year’s Tonys, it will likely continue to impress viewers for many performances to come.
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