Five years after John Carney’s Irish musical “Once” took the American indie market by storm, grossing nearly $10 million (on a $200,000 budget) and taking home an Academy Award for best original song, a stage version of the film is officially heading to New York City.
Musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who played the lead characters in the film, have written music and lyrics for the production, which will debut as an Off-Broadway production at the New York Theater Workshop this November.
The New York Times reports:
The Off Broadway production will be directed by John Tiffany, best known in New York for the Iraq war play “Black Watch” at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and choreographed by Steven Hoggett (“Peter and the Starcatcher,” “American Idiot”).
The new musical production had a multi-week workshop this spring at the American Repertory Theater, in Cambridge, Mass., that the producers and creators deemed an artistic success, said one of the lead producers of the musical, John Hart.
“Our team led by John Tiffany found that we could tell a story that still honored the film but was also very distinct and enriched, as a stage musical, in ways that films aren’t,” Mr. Hart said in an interview.
Though producers had initially hoped for a Broadway debut, it remains a possibility after the downtown production wraps up.
While “our first rush of enthusiasm was to go right to Broadway,” he added, Mr. Tiffany had commitments this year at his artistic home, the National Theater of Scotland, and also wanted to continue refining the musical rather than rush it to Broadway.
“I don’t think there’s any fixing to do, nothing specific, but we want to take our time and put it before audiences and critics at the New York Theater Workshop to get a clear sense of what we have,” Mr. Hart said.
The lead roles in “Once” were played by Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti in the American Repertory Theater production, and Hart said that he hoped the two would continue with the New York production.
As for Hansard and Irglova, they were recently the subjects of the documentary “The Swell Season,” which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Picking up directly after the success of “Once” propelled them into an Oscar-fueled spotlight, the doc is the result of three years of footage by New York filmmakers Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins and Carlo Mirabella-Davis. The trio followed Hansard and Irglova on tour, capturing the effect extensive touring and fast fame had on their relationship, both professionally and romantically. indieWIRE reported on the film back in April.