The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts and the Platteville Summer Arts Festival present the musical “Once.” Winner of eight Tony Awards, the musical is based on the 2007 motion picture, written and directed by John Carney. It includes a book by Irish playwright Enda Walsh and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who starred in the original film. The production runs July 29, 30, Aug. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and July 31 and Aug. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Richard and Helen Brodbeck Concert Hall in the Center for the Arts on the UW-Platteville campus.
“Once” takes place in Dublin and follows a chance encounter between an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant who are drawn together by their shared love of music. Featuring all of the songs from the critically-acclaimed film, including the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly," this musical was a hit from the moment it opened on Broadway in 2012. According to Ann Dillon Farrelly, UW-Platteville professor of theatre and director of the production, “This musical is about finding the hope you thought you lost. It’s about how other people come into our lives to remind us of who we are and push us forward.”
Farrelly is joined on the production team by other UW-Platteville theatre faculty and staff with choreography by Connie SaLoutos Furlan, costume design by Sarah Strange, scenic design by Jeffrey Strange and lighting design by Josh Lawyer. The production staff also includes UW-Platteville alumni with Lizzie Haller as music director, Christopher Kott as sound designer, Abigail Wagner as the scenic charge artist, and Michael Rowe and Austin Pettlon as production assistants. Current UW-Platteville students on staff include Jess Kott (stage manager), Isabelle Emerson (production assistant) and Emma Wagner (assistant music director). The cast is a blend of UW-Platteville students, staff and alumni and members of the Platteville and surrounding communities. The cast is led by John Dobbratz as Guy and Emma Wilson as Girl. Dobbratz was a member of the Heartland Festival core companies in 2011 and 2014, playing such memorable roles as Kenickie in “Grease”, Dan in “Next to Normal” and the title character in “Shrek.” Losey is a 2017 UW-Platteville graduate and Platteville native whose roles include Janet Van De Graaf in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Rosemary in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” They are joined by Tyler Tollefson as Billy, Matt Tompkins as Da, Savannah Bettin as Reza, Blair Schuler as Baruska, Brooks Duff-Bowers as Bank Manager, Jackson Hemming as Svec, Isabelle Sander as Andrej, Katie Dionne as Ex-Girlfriend, Bill Haskins as Eamon and Eleanor Lee Strange as Ivanka. While some of the actors will play their own instruments, the musical also includes a small pit of musicians who remain on stage throughout. Conducted by Haller on piano, other musicians include Larry Owen on guitar, Ann Duchow and William Houghton on violin, Rebecca Gottlieb on cello and Danielle Dillon on bass.
“We have gathered together another all-star team to tell this beautiful story,” said Farrelly. “In true Irish fashion, the musical is poignant and sad at times but also funny, joyous and uplifting. The Irish writers are so good at reminding us that our darkest moments are survivable. And the shared stories that come from music (and theatre) are the very things that help us to survive, because they remind us we are not alone. They give us a path to hope, which is something we all need, now more than ever.”
Tickets for “Once” are $24 for general admission and $18 for students and children under 18 (price includes the $2 box office fee). The Platteville Summer Arts Festival also offers a 10% discount for groups of 10 or more. For tickets, visit tickets.uwplatt.edu or call the University Box Office at 608-342-1298. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.