Even Before Off-Broadway Opening, ‘Once’ Announces a Move To BroadwayBy SCOTT HELLER and PATRICK HEALY
Just as the musical “Once” was about to open at New York Theater Workshop Tuesday night, the show’s commercial producers announced it would go directly to Broadway after the Off Broadway run.
Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, “Once” will begin previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on Feb. 28, 2012, with opening night set for March 18.
While widely anticipated, the announcement of the move came, unusually, even before the Off Broadway reviews were published. The film, which won an Academy Award for best original song, has a loyal following, but the rapid transfer is also confirmation that this year’s bounty of new Broadway musicals is thin.
With the addition of “Once,” the race for the coveted best musical Tony Award in June is likely set. Still to arrive in the spring are the Disney vehicle “Newsies,” the Gershwin songbook musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and the movies-turned-musiçals “Ghost” and “Rebecca.” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” and “Lysistrata Jones” are already playing, with the latter show officially opening next week.
“Once” features music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who starred in the film version as two songwriters who fall haltingly in love on the streets of Dublin. (Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti star in the stage version.) Enda Walsh (“Penelope,” “Misterman”) wrote the book and John Tiffany (“Black Watch”) is the director.
Executives involved with “Once” said they moved up the timing of the transfer because rumors about it were intensifying; normally producers do not upstage a show’s reviews by announcing news of its transfer just hours before. The New York Theater Workshop run is scheduled to end Jan. 15.