Winner of eight Tony Awards, a Grammy Award and an Oscar for Best Original Song, Once is an undoubted Irish success story. Originally a film directed by John Carney and starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, over the last five years, the musical has played on Broadway and across America, in London, Seoul, Melbourne and Toronto but only this summer will this quintessential Dublin story have an all-Irish cast for the very first time when it returns to the Gaiety Theatre from 30 June until 26 August.
Adding to this unique experience, Once also features Dublin’s only on-stage bar. Patrons can walk on stage before the show and buy a drink at the fully functional bar. If you’re lucky, the cast might even join you on stage and play a song or two as well. Brand new seating, with improved comfort and legroom, has been installed in the ground floor stalls area of The Olympia – which has just been voted Hot Press Live Music Venue of the Year for the second year running. The four bars in the theatre have also received a complete redesign. The on-stage bar opens one hour before the performance starts; 7pm for the 8pm show and 2pm for the 3pm Saturday matinees and is also open during the interval.
Described as ‘a love-song to Dublin’, the stunning music is performed by an extraordinary cast of actor-musicians, who sing, dance and play their hearts out live on stage. Between them, the 12 actors play 30 instruments during each performance, making Once a unique show that has the feel of a play and a music gig combined. The cast features Brian Gilligan and Niamh Perry in the lead roles of Guy and Girl.
Dubliner Brian Gilligan has played the lead role in The Commitments for over a year and appeared with Kit Harington in Doctor Faustus last year in London. Niamh Perry came to prominence in the BBC talent show I’ll Do Anything and created the role of “Fleck” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Love Never Dies. She also appeared in the recent London production of Lloyd Webber’s and Ben Elton’s The Beautiful Game.
The cast also includes some of the best known and best loved Irish actors working in Ireland and London as well as a host of rising stars. Phelim Drew returns in the iconic role of Billy while David Ganly joins the cast for the first time in the role of Bank Manager. As well as the hugely talented returning company, the casting for this year’s run is completed by rising stars of stage and screen, including Sam McGovern (RTE’s Striking Out), Ruth Smith (The Evertides) and Faoileann Cunningham, who is about to graduate from RADA in London, and whose first professional engagement this will be.
The show features the iconic music of Hansard and Irglova – including the Oscar-winning Falling Slowly – and a Tony award-winning book by playwright Enda Walsh. His work has been translated into over 20 languages and has been performed internationally since 1998. His recent plays include The Same, which was produced by Corcadorca in February 2017 at the Old Cork Prison and Lazarus with David Bowie, which recently finished a run at the Kings Cross Theatre in London and was previously seen at the New York Theatre Workshop. His film work includes the critically acclaimed Disco Pigs and Hunger.
Tickets for this incredible experience start from just €25, with stagings every Monday to Saturday evening of the run. There will also be matinee performances every Saturday at 3pm. That means there is ample opportunity to catch this uniquely Irish show in the city where it all began 10 years ago.