My husband and I returned last Sunday night from a March Break trip to NYC – a city we both absolutely love visiting. I will blog more about the trip and the city itself a bit later but since I haven’t posted in awhile now, I wanted to get back into it by writing about my favourite of the four broadway shows (Annie, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Once) we saw during the trip. I am a huge fan of broadway musicals (as is my husband). We have a subscription to the Mirvish theatre shows in Toronto and I am always on the search for other great shows to see. We recently discovered the Lower Ossington Theatre and enjoyed seeing their production of Avenue Q. It’s a smaller and certainly not a fancy theatre but it was nice to experience a more intimate atmosphere.
Every time we visit NYC, my husband and I visit the TKTS booths to buy discounted broadway show tickets. The line-ups are usually the worst at the Times Square location but are way better at the Brooklyn location. We managed to snag tickets to Once at the Times Square TKTS booth for a Sunday matinee. They only had partial view tickets left but we took them anyway.
Once was the best show we saw while visiting NYC this time. It won eight 2012 Tony awards including “Best Actor in a Musical” for the lead actor, Steve Kazee. This musical is based on the 2006 movie by the same name. The movie apparently won an oscar for “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song” for a lovely song called “Falling Slowly”. I haven’t seen the movie but plan to do so now that I’ve seen the musical!
Before the musical begins, the cast performs on stage – singing and playing instruments. These performances flow seamlessly into the beginning of the actual story. I actually wasn’t sure whether the musical had officially started until the lights dimmed partway through the opening number! The story seems at first to be just a basic boy meets girl story, albeit a very sweet and funny meeting it is! I was quickly pulled in by the music. I LOVED the music in this show. I am a big emotional sap when it comes to many things. I cry easily during movies, shows, or even listening to music. This was no different. As I listened to the heart-wrenching songs performed during this musical, I felt a lump in my throat and tears come to my eyes during the more powerful numbers. The way the music would swell and build – AMAZING! It just catches and holds you…
One of the things that amazed me about this musical was how talented the cast was. They all could both sing and play instruments while carrying out all sorts of choreography. One of the performers even managed to played cello (not an instrument I would think is easy to move around with while playing it) all while moving around vigorously and in sync with the other performers. After the performance, I exited the theatre thinking to myself that I really, really, really need to buy the soundtrack CD. I don’t feel that way about all the shows I see.
Having taken instrumental music throughout elementary and high school (and even a couple of music-related courses in university purely out of interest), I really appreciate musicianship and am a strong advocate for music education in schools. It enriches your life and really makes your brain work in different and wonderful ways. I always remember how proud my high school music teacher would be during end of the year awards ceremonies. Virtually the entire band would stand up and leave the gym in the middle of each ceremony so we could line up outside the gym before filing across the stage to receive our honour roll certificates.
If any of you have other musicals or shows you’ve seen and loved, I would enjoy hearing about it!