Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of ONCE at Olney Theatre?

Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of ONCE at Olney Theatre?ONCE opened at the Olney Theatre in Baltimore on February 6th and is running through March 10, 2019.

This Tony-winning gem of a musical took Broadway by storm with its romantic folk-rock ballads and an ensemble that plays its own instruments. Set in contemporary Dublin, a street guitarist is about to give up on his dreams when he meets a curious woman who wants to know all about him. Captivated by her optimism, the two embark on a remarkable music-making journey that includes a cadre of unlikely companions -- immigrants, oddballs, and lonely hearts. Along the way, can the two of them find love? Based on the 2006 film which won an Oscar® for Best Original Song, Once ponders the mysteries of music and love.

Book by
Enda Walsh

Music and Lyrics by
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

Based on the motion picture written and directed by
John Carney

Music Direction by
Christopher Youstra

Directed and Choreographed by
Marcia Milgrom Dodge

The Olney Theatre Center is presenting this gem of a musical based on the 2006 film. It is filled with romantic folk ballads. Love is in the air. Playing "Guy" is Gregory Maheu and playing "Girl" is Malinda Kathleen Reese.

ONCE plays until March 10, 2019 at the Olney Theatre Center. For tickets, call 301-924-3400 or visit

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Andrea Abramson, DC Metro: The ensemble cast is just as engaging, from Dave Stishan as the protective and tender-hearted Billy, owner of the music store where Girl goes to play the piano, to Daven Ralston who is so fun to watch as Reza, Girl's friend and fellow immigrant to Ireland, to Bank Manager Nick Depinto, who gives Guy the loan he needs to record his music and ultimately make it to New York. Music Director Christopher Youstra, who also appears in this production, lets each member of the cast stand out, with many playing several instruments throughout the course of the show, while somehow wrangling each of these solo-worthy performers into an ensemble you could listen to all night long.

Johanna Alonso, MD Theatre Guide: Olney Theater's "Once" is a remarkable experience; it is joyous without being corny, familiar without feeling rote, high-energy without being tiring. If you enjoy theatre that explores the truths about human lives and relationships in fresh, interesting ways, "Once" is sure to please.

Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post: The show passes the "Falling Slowly" test twice, acing that simmering, Oscar-winning song - and the rest of the score - with the lush strumming and fiddling that easily make the night worthwhile."

Missy Frederick, DC Theatre Scene: Once's stage adaptation doesn't try to capture the same feel of the film, which would likely be impossible. Instead, the musical creates its own atmosphere, courtesy of the band of street musicians who frame the production from the beginning - even as audience members enter the theater at Olney, they're treated to a festive, spirited jam session from the cast at large. Each performer is a multi-threat, taking on character roles while juggling at least one, sometimes multiple instruments that provide accompaniment to the score. Once's songs become even more heartbreaking when either amped up with additional orchestrations or stripped down to sparse, a cappella versions.

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