The theatrical adaptation of the Irish indie film Once doesn’t open on Broadway until this Sunday, March 18 (St. Patty’s Day weekend, don’t ya know) but the cast album is available tomorrow. If you’re not sure about laying out the cash, the fine folks at NPR’s First Listen are already streaming the entire recording. Although I wanted to see the show with fresh eyes and ears, I couldn’t resist a listen.
I’m not only a huge fan of the original movie but also of its Oscar-winning stars and songwriting duo, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (recording under the band name, The Swell Season), so hearing those familiar songs sung by new voices is an uncanny experience–like running into an old flame. Something isn’t quite the same; it never can be. Luckily, in this case, the love is still there. In the Broadway versions, the singers nicely evoke the originals without sounding like a slavish cover band and the songs retain their warmth, craft and evocative sense of place. Plus, a few new songs suggest a wider world and a pub-friendly, foot-stomping gaelic touch my Grandpa Barrett would surely have appreciated. It’s hard to shake images from the film but, judging by the recording, this show just might work.
Can’t get enough? Check out this video preview for the musical.