Thursday 22 March 2018

Higgins hails hit as 'Once' makes it on Broadway

Niamh Sweeney in New York

MICHAEL D Higgins on Broadway. If he can make it there, he can make it anywhere.

Mr Higgins -- a noted patron of the arts -- visited the famous New York area to watch a performance of the hit musical 'Once', which has just been nominated for 11 Tony Awards.

"It was a brilliant night," Mr Higgins said afterwards.

"It's a great cast, given that they are all Americans, and . . . I thought that the idea of 'Fair City' as a pedagogic tool for the English language has immense possibilities," he joked, referring to the show's Czech characters who watch the RTE soap to improve their English.

The musical stage show was written by Irish playwright Enda Walsh and is based on the 2006 Oscar-winning film by John Carney, which starred Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

It began its Broadway run on March 18 this year after a hugely successful seven-week run off Broadway at the end of 2011.


Mr Hansard -- of The Frames and Commitments fame -- wrote the music and lyrics together with Ms Irglova, who is from the Czech Republic.

Their song 'Falling Slowly' won best original song at the 2007 Academy Awards in LA.

According to the show's publicists, $5.5m (€4.1m,) was invested in the new Broadway production. And the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre has been turned into a fake Dublin pub for the show's run.

The audience sits 'in-the-round' and is invited onto the stage before the performance and during the interval to have a drink at the bar.

Mr Higgins stepped on to the stage during the interval and after the performance when he spoke with the cast.

"I had refreshment, but it was non-alcoholic," he quipped, after the show on Wednesday night. "I had a great chat with the cast afterwards . . . I think it's going to run and run."

President Higgins also praised the use of traditional music as well as "all of the fine ironies" in the script, which, he joked, were "about the most substantial resource we have in recent times".

Irish Independent

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