Theater review: ‘Falling Slowly’ for ‘Once’ on Broadway

Cristin Milioti and Steve Kazee star in “Once,” now on Broadway.

Since opening on Broadway on March 18, “Once” has been quietly thrumming with an undercurrent of critical praise. In the spring influx of Tony Award contenders, this one’s underhyped and easy to lose sight of — but don’t. The show feels like it has a there-and-then-it’s-gone specialness that makes a fraternity of those who catch it in its prime. It’s reminiscent of the sensuous “Brief Encounter” of 2010, hinting at a more fantastical reality just beneath the surface of everyday engagements.

Fans of the movie will like the way that the play amplifies the story while delving more into the side characters and themes. Those who haven’t seen it don’t need any cues to pick up the plot onstage; in fact, they may be spoiled for the film if they expect it to be as robust as the live production. For everyone else, it’s a matter of how much you like salty-yet-saccharine ingenues with a heft of quirk (think “Amelie”). A lot of your attachment to the romance will come from your immediate impression of Cristin Milioti, who’s different from archetype Marketa Irglova in that she’s more pronounced — as is the classically handsome Steve Kazee from Glen Hansard, though they’re arguably closer in kind. Not the sort to auto-swoon for a boy-meets-girl storyline? Instead embrace the haunting, heartbreaking melodies and two new songs. Plus, one surprising character adds just the right dash of cynicism to get you laughing at your own reluctance to give life a break — and let it give you one, too.

Arrive early for a preshow performance from this hardworking cast. They stay in sight throughout to play instruments, dance, sing and act to propel the plot. Their succinct, stylized choreography helps establish that the couple can only thrive thanks to the culture, camaraderie and circumstances coalescing around them at just the right time.

The broad stage suffers no shortage of intimacy. Step right up onto the charming pub set during intermission to grab a drink, but don’t expect Dublin prices — shelling out $13 for a beer will bring you straight back to the business end of Broadway and jar the trance of enchantment you’ll remember having had once.

‘Once’
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
242 W. 45th St.
$60-$124, 212-239-6200
www.oncemusical.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.