Let me get this out of the way, I love musicals. Just absolutely adore them. The hustle and bustle, the pageantry, the anticipation right before the house lights go down, the costumes, the music. You get the idea, I love musicals. I have been known to keep a soundtrack in my car for weeks at a time; Dreamgirls got me through some very long trips up and down the PA turnpike. So, I am always taken aback when people do not like musicals. Imagine my surprise, then, when Sue and I are in the cab headed to the Academy of Music to see Once and she announces, “I don’t like musicals.” Wait, what? I think telling me before the tickets were purchased may have been a better time for that announcement, but she is a good sport so no turning back. I also knew that she would like the one we were headed into it, since it was all about music. Yup, I get what I just wrote- a musical about music, but it is true.
Once was first a movie and about a busker and the woman who helps him rediscover his love of music. I remember seeing it years ago and just falling in love with this very sweet love story that was about love on many levels, for one’s craft, for others, etc. You never learn the character’s names, they are just guy and girl, all the more to concentrate on the story. Ever since it was re imagined as a musical, I knew I wanted to see it.
I also knew that, regardless of her taxi comment, she was going to like it. As we walked in, there was live music happening, and people milling around, on the stage. The musicians were on stage and singing and playing their instruments as guests were enjoying the bar. As it turns out, since this musical takes place in a bar, the stage is used as a real bar and attendees are invited to enjoy the bar before the show and during intermission. I have never seen anything like that and if I knew, I would have splurged for closer seats just for the chance to view the Academy of Music from the vantage point of the stage. Anyway, there is no way this is going to be a bad show when you are getting settled to a beautiful stripped down version of Ragland Road.
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova starred in the movie and also wrote the music for both the movie and musical. The music is my jawn- Irish singer and songwriter heartfelt music accompanied by string instruments. Every song, I can just feel it cursing through my soul. The story is just a good old fashioned love story- guy meets girl, girl helps guy rediscover his love of music, guy and girl fall for each other, timing is off and guy and girl return to their respective loves and do not end up together. Same old, same old- story’s been told a hundred times, but rarely accompanied to such a beautiful soundtrack or in such a beautiful locale.
It turns out Sue does like musicals, or at least this one. So much so, that she bought the soundtrack and I know she will be listening to it for her driving pleasure. Don’t tell her, but I already bought tickets for when South Pacific comes back around.
16 shows to go, 137 days left…