Once - A New Musical

Music and Lyrics By: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

Book By: Enda Walsh

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on the 2007 award-winning Irish romantic film by John Carney, Once – A New Musical opened off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in December of 2011.  Since then, it has moved to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, where it opened in March 2011.  Masterworks Broadway has released the original cast recording of Once – A New Musical just five days before the musical opened on Broadway.

            When Guy (Steve Kazee) meets Girl (Cristin Milioti), it is magic.  Their mutual love for music draws the Irish musician/vacuum repairman and the Czech immigrant together, despite the fact that they have little else in common.  Their fast friendship and collaboration in music brings about an intense romantic relationship fraught with complications.

            One would expect the music from a romantic musical to be full of romance and desire and the soundtrack of this musical is no exception.  But unlike many other musicals, the soundtrack of Once - A Musical features incredibly polished performances.  This is the new era of Broadway - complex and meaningful lyrics accompanied by a select few instruments rather than a full orchestra.  The result is incredibly romantic and supplies the listener with the idea that they are listening to a romantic album rather than the soundtrack of a Broadway musical.

            Of course, not every song is about romance, lost love, self-doubt and despair.  There are some rather funny tracks which take place in the midst of the Guy meets Girl friendship like Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy in which Guy pokes fun at his job and dismal love life.  And yet, the love songs are what truly draw the listener in, like Falling Slowly, a song that describes the tantalizing effect of two people falling in love oh so slowly, yet oh so sweetly. 

            Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti harmonize well together, their voices seemingly made to perform together.  Kazee has a strong singing voice and it shows in his solo performances on this album.  Cristin Milioti has a strong voice, but the heavy Czech accent takes something away from her solo performances - a shame since I could picture her singing without the accent quite beautifully.

            Once - A New Musical is not your every day Broadway musical.  Based on a modern movie, the musical itself has a modern feel, but when you get right down to it, the story is an old one - tried and true and always worthy of Kleenex.  The song on the Once - A New Musical Soundtrack alternate between beautiful and fun and make for an intelligent and enjoyable musical experience.  I greatly enjoyed listening to the album and have an urge to look up the movie that started it all.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at