THEATER TALK: "Once" Cast Recording Preview
I quite enjoyed the 2006 film on which the musical is based, and its accompanying soundtrack, including the Oscar-winning song, "Falling Slowly." There was something intensely personal about the movie and soundtrack, and the fingerprints of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the stars and composers were felt all over both.
Based on just a couple cursory listens, though, the Broadway cast recording for "Once" does not feel like a shallow replica of the movie's soundtrack. While it certainly has a more polished air to it, there is still a refreshingly raw undercurrent to the whole thing. This may be due in part to the fact that all of the performers are playing their own instruments—there is no professional orchestra whose only job is to play the score, all the actors do that for themselves. Steve Kazee, who has taken on Hansard's role, has a smoother voice than his predecessor, but he can still effectively tap into some pretty strong emotions when it is required of him. Cristin Milioti, in Irglova's role, also has a beautiful voice, and the two come together to a haunting effect on "Falling Slowly," which might be the crown jewel in the show's cast recording.
As a whole, the recording is incredibly charming. It welcomes the listener in like an old friend. It's certainly different from most Broadway cast recordings (it seems to fall more in line with a Mumford & Sons album than, say, the cast recording for "The Book of Mormon"), but that doesn't necessarily make it any better or worse than its peers. "Once" looks to be a beautiful show, and its cast recording is no exception.
"Once" had a sold-out run off-Broadway, and if this cast recording is any indication, it should be a lush and inviting show.
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