The Tony Award®-winning production of Once, based on the movie of the same name, tells the story of a heart-broken musician about to give up on music until he meets an unassuming girl who likes his songs. In this Quick Chat, Evan Harrington (Peter and the Starcatcher, The Phantom of the Opera), who plays Billy, discusses what makes the musical resonate with audiences and more.
What makes playing in Once different than playing in most other musicals?
All of us play instruments.
How different is the musical from the film?
The film really focused on the two lead characters. The musical expands the minor characters; it adds to the film.
What do you think has made this show so successful?
The story connects with people. It is not a far-fetched story because we have all felt unrequited love. And, the music is a visceral experience. You feel it, not just watch it. It is ultimately a story about how music affects us and brings us together.
The Broadway show has a sense of intimacy that many feel make it special. Does that translate well in larger theaters?
It translates fine in bigger spaces. It is about connecting with these people through the music. The whole score still resonates with audiences. By the end of the show, audiences love all of the songs.
What do you enjoy most about being in this production?
The show is brilliant – so different and so fun. I’ve been lucky to have been in Phantom for 3 ½ years. But, I get to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Guitar is something I have wanted to play, and I think it is gift being able to act and play the guitar [in the show]. The best job I’ve had.
What would you say to someone on the street who hasn’t seen the show before?
Be prepared to enjoy yourself; it’s not like anything you have seen before.
Once plays at the Fox Theatre through March 9 as part of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta series. For tickets and more information, please visit www.broadwayinatlanta.com.