Once at the the Jubilee as part of the Broadway Across Canada tour. I had seen it earlier this summer in Toronto and although I liked it, I saw it at the end of a very, very long day and it was just okay. I was very glad to see it again last night as the experience was a lot different. Perhaps I was more refreshed and less tired and that helped. Perhaps my seats were better. Perhaps the connection of this cast was just a little but stronger. Perhaps, having seen it *once* already I was able to relax into it better. In any case, I really liked it last night. It doesn't follow a traditional musical theatre format. I remember that catching me off-guard the last time. All the actors onstage not only sing and act, but they also provide the instrumentation for the show. That is one talented cast up there onstage. Some play guitars, the piano, some the violin, there's a bass, a drum kit, a mandolin, banjo, and accordion. Most of the time they are both singing and playing and sometimes they are also dancing, as well. More than triple-threat.
The story itself is interesting - small, and personal and yet at the same time it has an epic quality to it (isn't creating art always epic?). You connect because these people could be you and you can relate to the things that push and pull them. Who hasn't had challenges in love and career and life. Who hasn't wanted someone when they are with someone else? I like it because it casts aside the idea that there is only one soul mate for each of us, and suggests that there are more than one and that you can't always have all that you want but sometimes you can get enough to be happy. Maybe I am taking that too far?
Anyhow, the music is wonderful and the show is compelling - it's funny and sad and beautiful. I'm just glad that I saw Once more than once, because the second time was better!