Orchestra cast demonstrates power of song, dreams in touring Broadway’s ‘Once’

Heather Longley
January 05, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An emotionally captivating score performed by a live orchestra sets the tone for “Once,” the award-winning screen-to-stage romance about not giving up on your dreams and celebrating the power of music. The touring Broadway production will make its Penn State debut at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Based on writer-director John Carney’s 2007 film, which won an Academy Award for Best Song, the production includes music and songs written by the film’s actors, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.

The story follows a busker, who’s also a vacuum cleaner repairman, and his chance meeting with a young pianist. After she hears his sad song of unrequited love, she convinces the heartbroken balladeer to perform the song in order to win back his girlfriend. The two folk artists form an unexpected bond while singing, writing and rehearsing their musical collaborations. The show’s actors double as the orchestra and incorporate their musical talents into the plot.

The original Broadway musical took home eight Tony Awards (including for Best Musical) and three more nominations, three Drama Desk Awards and the 2013 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. “What was always wonderful about ‘Once,’ its songs and its staging, has been magnified,” said a New York Times reviewer of the show’s Broadway production.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders. Reservations for audio description are required by Tuesday, Jan. 17. Phone 814-863-0255 to reserve the service.

WATM-ABC 23, WWCP-FOX 8, THIS TV, Antenna TV and 98.7 The FREQ are media sponsors.

For ticketing and other information about the performance, visit the Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255.

Patrons are welcome to bring a contribution for a book drive aimed at supporting Mid-State Literacy Council’s efforts to improve reading and learning proficiency in children. Titles with reading levels of preschool to sixth grade are preferred. Blue collection buckets are located in the Eisenhower lobby during regular business hours — Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and during the performance.

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  • A young man and woman stand facing each other with their foreheads pressed together in a scene from “Once.”

    Sam Cieri (Guy) and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy (Girl) bring the Academy Award-winning musical film to the stage in the touring Broadway production of “Once.”

    IMAGE: © Joan Marcus
  • Cast members from the musical “Once” sit on a rail with their legs dangling.

    The cast of the touring Broadway musical “Once” features 2013 Penn State theater graduate Liam Fennecken, right.

    IMAGE: © Joan Marcus
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(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 06, 2017