‘Once’ Again

03Nov08

In case you missed Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová in theaters singing ‘Falling Slowly’ in their 2007 movie Once, and then you forgot to add the DVD to your Netflix queue, and then you never ended up buying the soundtrack to the film, and you were in the bathroom during their live performance during the 2008 Academy Awards (where the song won an Oscar for Best Original Song), and then you forgot to buy tickets to one of the many concerts featuring the two singers, touring under the name The Swell Season, as they performed the songs from the movie yet again, well do I have good news for you…

You just might have one more chance to catch ‘Falling Slowly’, as well as songs like ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’ and ‘If You Want Me’, and this this time it will be on Broadway. Hey, you had your chance to hear the songs for $12 at the movie theater, or $40 at the concert, but now you can hear the same songs for $111.25. Aren’t you glad you waited?

Actually, you will have to wait a little longer. The live theater rights to the movie were purchased by producers who hope to have the show up and running by 2010. No word on who the stars will be. I don’t want to assume that Hansard and Irglová will be the leads, as they seem to be musicians first, and actors by accident (Hansard was actually a last-minute replacement in the film when actor Cilian Murphy dropped out). And Hansard is still doing work with his other band, The Frames, so a Broadway run may not even fit in his schedule.

I saw the movie during its theatrical run in 2007. I enjoyed the music, but I felt like I was watching one really long music video. The songs kind of melded into one another, and the plot took a back seat to the musical performances. It was a pretty soundtrack paired with a sweet, simple story. What part of this screams “Broadway hit!” is beyond me. I feel like the live music part has already been done— the pair has been touring the world sharing songs from the film. I would guess that the built-in audience for the stage show may be a little sick of ‘Falling Slowly’ by now, but who knows how they will feel in 2010…maybe they’ll be longing for a Glen and Markéta fix.

The movie was a very low-budget production, and the fact that it was a labor of love was part of the reason the film became so popular. Offering an alternative to the typical Hollywood production, it seemed to say “Look at what $160,000, 17 days, friends’ houses, deferred payments, and hand-held shooting (they couldn’t afford tripods) can make.” The success of the movie and its soundtrack was given a heartwarming boost when it was revealed that the two stars had fallen in love and were a real-life couple. Awwww.

So, my question is, how will this no-frills indie film translate to Broadway, where everything has to be grand, elaborate, and flying through the air while attached to a harness? And I don’t recall any dancing in the film, so kick lines are out. I understand the producers want to make the songs from ‘Once’ available in yet another format, but I think it’s entirely possible that we’ve reached the point where the show can no longer live up to it’s name. Something like ‘Thrice’ would be more appropriate.

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