Review: Once at Proctors Captivates with Enchanting Music and Love Story

SCHENECTADY, NY – Think about the first time you heard your favorite band. Remember that feeling when you discovered the way that certain music changes you? Well, that’s the feeling you’ll get again after seeing Once at Proctors.

Once is a musical like no other. You’ll be transported to Ireland – the only set is an intimate Dublin bar that transforms into a music store, a home, a bank, and a music studio just with lighting and the changing of tables and chairs. Most unique about the show is that the actors double as the orchestra, all of them singing and playing their own instruments on stage.

It’s the story of Guy, an Irish street musician and vacuum-cleaner repairman, who is still overcoming a tough breakup. We meet him when he is ready to give up on his music career, until Girl, a Czech singer-pianist, comes along. They begin making music together and quickly change each other’s lives.

Theatre-goers are invited to enjoy the real on-stage bar before the show, and, unlike any Broadway show I’ve seen before, most of the cast comes out about 15 minutes before the show for a jam session. From the very first note, it sets the captivating atmosphere of the evening and reminds you that this isn’t your normal Broadway show.

once the broadway musical

The house lights didn’t even begin to dim when Sam Cieri, who plays Guy, began the first song of the night, LEAVE. But you become so enveloped in Cieri’s unique voice and the power he puts behind the music, that you don’t even notice when the lights finally go out.

Mackenzie Lesser-Boy, who plays Girl, makes you fall in love with her immediately with her charm and quirky personality. Her chemistry with Cieri is so strong you’ll catch yourself leaning forward in your seat waiting for a kiss between the two.

The Oscar-winning song from the show (and movie the musical is based on), FALLING SLOWLY, is only the second song of the show with a reprise at the end. But in-between, you’ll be immersed in all of the enchanting songs like GOLD, IF YOU WANT ME, and WHEN YOUR MINDS MADE UP.

Once isn’t a Big Broadway show. It doesn’t have big dance numbers or bright costumes. But it does have a real story with real music that will resonate with you, and not just on the drive home. It’ll stay with you when you wake up the next day and go with you into the next week, reminding you of the power of the perfect song. It gives you that feeling like you’ve just discovered the way music can change you, all over again.

When: Now – May 15
Where: Proctors Theatre, 432 State Street Schenectady NY
Tickets: $20-$80 on proctors.org