Monday, May 11, 2015

EXPERIENCE "ONCE" IN A LIFETIME

          STUART WARD AS THE GUY AND DANI DE WAAL AS THE GIRL IN
                                          "ONCE"   PHOTO JOAN MARCUS
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One day an immigrant from Czechoslovia walks into a bar where she bumps into an Irish bloke who plays the guitar and sings, and together they make beautiful music.  That is the storyline of the Academy Award-winning film and the Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Theater Album and multiple Tony Awards including Best Musical, "ONCE."  Based on a book by Enda Walsh and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, "ONCE" is billed as a daring, thrilling and unforgettable homage to love and to life.

"ONCE" will sweep majestically into the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, May 26 to Sunday, May 31.  Come meet an engaging street musician with a brogue still evident who is about to abandon his dreams as being hopeless.  Just as he is going to close his guitar case forever, he is approached by a lovely young lass from an exotic place who stirs in him sparks of innovation that ignite in flames and creative conflagration.

Call it penicillin or Prozac, but when the new girl (Dani de Waal) enters the guy's (Stuart Ward) life, miraculous things start to happen.  He is still caught in an old relationship, and even though his ex-girlfriend has moved to New York he can't forget her.  The girl offers to help him win her back, trading her assistance by playing the piano in exchange for his skills in fixing her broken vacuum cleaner.

The girl with her daughter Ivanka establishes a firm place in guy's life, writing new songs with him and  arranging a meeting with a bank manager to secure loans so he can move to the Big Apple and win back his old love.

Lyrical ballads like "Gold," "Falling Slowly," "The Hill" and "It Can't Be About That" propel the story and build to the point where the guy regains faith in his own abilities.  Clearly the two have given each other gifts, in words and music, that will sustain them as their paths intersect and separate.

For tickets ($21-92), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org.  Performances are Tuesday - Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Visit a bar in Dublin, where all the performers  are also the musicians and are on stage the whole time. Take a journey of discovery with one girl and one guy.  The message is clear:  "To live you have to love."

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