Grand Theatre Launches Season with ONCE

Grand Theatre Launches Season with ONCE

The Grand Theatre opens the 2017/18 Season with its production of ONCE, the Tony-award winning musical, co-produced with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Directed by Tracey Flye and featuring actor/musicians Jeremy Walmsley and Amanda LeBlanc, the pre-show begins with an on-stage bar open for business; patrons are invited to mingle over a drink while the cast entertains with music. ONCE is on the Spriet Stage October 17 to November 4. The show's Title Sponsor is BlueStone Properties and the Craft Beer Sponsor is Toboggan Brewing Company.

Set in a raucous pub, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician, Guy, on the cusp of giving up his dreams and his chance encounter with a woman, Girl, who refuses to let him. With a powerful score that features the Academy Award®-winning song Falling Slowly, all the music in ONCE is played live on stage by a cast of actor/musicians. Among them, the actors play over 27different instruments which include nine guitars, three violins, two ukuleles, two mandolins, two cajons, melodica, harmonica, piano, bass guitar, a banjo, drums, accordion, and a cello.

Playwright Enda Walsh, a multi-award-winning Irish playwright, won the 2012 Tony Award for the book ONCE. The musical played for three years on Broadway, two years in London's West End and has been touring worldwide since. ONCE, the musical, earned eight Tony Awards, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, two Olivier Awards (for the British production), and three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for the Toronto production.

"The play is both timely and timeless. Through Girl and Guy's journey we are reminded how music transcends language," said Director Tracey Flye. "It's a powerful reminder, given the divisiveness we find in our world today, that common ground is possible...that love is possible...that dreams can be re-discovered...and that sometimes, something as simple as a melody can bring us together and allow us to find solace where healing and hope seemed impossible."

"Most of the music is diagetic, which means the music is being made in real time," said Musical Director Joseph Tritt. "So the characters are playing music on the street, in a music store, in a pub, around a dinner table, and in a recording studio, rather than breaking into song as in traditional musical theatre. As a result, the music supports the storytelling."

The cast is comprised of 13 actors and features Jeremy Walmsley as Guy and Amanda LeBlanc as Girl. The ensemble includes Isaac Bell, Nathan Carroll, Duncan Cox, Quinn Dooley, Jeff Hamacher, Duff MacDonald, Jane Miller, Alicia Toner, Daniel Williston, Cory Wojcik, as well as Londoner Zoe Brown.

The Grand's production of ONCE is on the Spriet Stage from October 17 to November 4: opening night is October 20. Tickets are $29.95 to $84 (includes HST and CIF - prices subject to change). Tickets are available, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2017/18 Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group,

About the Grand Theatre:
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub proudly located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original homegrown stories through COMPASS, a New Play Development Program. The Grand supports educational programming and youth mentorship such as The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a new community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools in 2018 at no cost.

A not-for-profit regional theatre, the Grand produces and presents professional theatre on two stages: the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand's season runs from September to May. The2017/18 Season is on sale.

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