Sunday 18 February 2018

Once nominated for 11 Tony awards on Broadway

Glen Hansard,embraces lead actor Steve Kazee at the
'Once' Broadway opening night in New York City
Glen Hansard,embraces lead actor Steve Kazee at the 'Once' Broadway opening night in New York City
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Actors Jim Parsons and Kristin Chenoweth (R) announce The 2012 Tony Award Nominations at The New York Public Library for Performing Arts on May 1, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

SONGWRITER Glen Hansard spoke of his pride and joy last night after a Broadway musical based on his Oscar-winning film 'Once' received more nominations for this year's Tony awards than any other production.

The musical, based on his 2006 indie cult film that garnered him an Academy Award for best Original Score, was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in New York yesterday, including best musical, best director, best actor, best actress and best choreographer.

The Tony Awards, which are presented for "excellence in Broadway theatre", will be held on June 10 in New York.

Speaking from New York last night, where he is living when not home in Dublin or touring, he said he was "happy and proud" that the musical has done so well.

But he added that the credit goes to the cast and crew because the show "is theirs now".

'Once' has been garnering rave reviews since it was staged on a relatively modest $5.5m (€4.1m) budget at the Bernard B Jacob's theatre in mid-town Manhattan.

But there was disappointment at the nominations for two other Dublin songwriters, U2's Bono and The Edge. The duo's controversial $75m (€57m) musical 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' managed to get just two minor nods -- for best set and costumes.


Like the film, the musical 'Once' tells the story of a vacuum cleaner repairman-cum-busker who meets a Czech flower seller on the street; they develop a friendship that ultimately turns to romance through their mutual love of music.

The film was made on a shoestring budget of just €130,000 but it inspired a documentary and musical collaboration between Mr Hansard and Ms Irglova called 'The Swell Season', following its Hollywood success.

Mr Hansard, pictured right, has told the Irish-American newspaper 'The Irish Voice' that his role in helping to shape the musical was more that of a coach than musical director.

"I needed to be here for a while to keep an eye on the show. To make sure that (lead actor) Steve (Kazee) feels comfortable with the songs. Just to be an ear."

But the down-to-earth musician said he still has difficulty coming to terms with the success of 'Once' the film, let alone the musical.

"I would never have said that that I would make a music film with my friend John Carney and my friend Marketa Irglova and it would win an Academy Award and then become a stage musical on Broadway," he told the newspaper.

"This is all stuff that is way, way out of my experience. So yes, there is a certain turbulence that occurs in your life where you're like, really? It was all out of my control," he said.

Critics, including the 'New York Times', have given the musical a massive thumbs-up.

"'Once' uses song and dance in a way I've never experienced in an American musical. When the violins begin to play -- and the accordion and the mandolin and the guitars and the cello -- the instruments swell into a collection of distinctive voices melded into a single, universal feeling. 'Once' massages that feeling until it hurts quite exquisitely," the critic wrote.

Meanwhile, the musical's director John Tiffany, who is currently in Scotland, said he thought someone had died when his mobile sprang to life yesterday following the news.


"I can't believe it. It's such a humble and delicate show," he said in a blog on the musical's website yesterday.

"I was actually out watching a lunchtime play here in Scotland and all of a sudden my phone started buzzing like crazy and I thought 'Oh My God, who has died?' It's that terrible! So I took my phone out and saw the text messages saying that we had gotten all of these nominations so it's safe to say that I enjoyed the last 10 minutes of the play immensely."

Irish Independent

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