Cabaret, and Director Katie Spelman’s “drum roll – cymbal crash and a two bar vamp you know as well as your own name” still lingers adrift in the upper reaches of the Paramount Theatre. I could swear I could hear it, feel it, as I imagined it mashing with country star Scotty McCreery’s cheering crowds and retro-pop sensation Under The Streelamp’s fans dancing in the aisles over the weekend! You see, yesterday was the first day of rehearsal for our new production of Once and as is the tradition for every show, the cast is ushered into the empty theater to experience its scale and splendor. Up on the bare stage they can look out and imagine the hundreds of theatre-goers and music-lovers filling the seats of the vast house under the blue and white, Venetian Art Deco glass chandelier.

Moments like this fill me up like a sentimental old fool in the spell of the past’s resonance with the present moment; the mystery of the future ahead.


Back at the rehearsal hall, The Copley, everyone was welcomed and introduced and from the design team, the Jeff Kmiec setting of a neighborhood Dublin pub and Theresa Ham’s costumes defining the Irish and Czech culture connection in the story was presented. Choreographer William Carlos Angulo had a few incisive insights to impart to the group summing up our pre-production collaboration. We started off looking at contemporary Dublin bars and found only images of tourist spots; quite cluttered, crowded and glossy. Discovering what the show meant to us, what it is about for us, we found that this reality didn’t fit the ineffability of this story about making music and giving of oneself selflessly. Instead of realism, we were drawn to surrealism. For the cast, William quoted the great surrealist artist, Rene Margritte:

Surreality is simply reality that has not been detached from its mystery.


In our story, how a person can enter and bring change and hope certainly illuminates the inscrutable mystique of how good things come and go in our lives. Why and how certain things happen is simply unknowable. It is surreal. But all it takes is for a one time experience to set things right. At least for a little while. Just Once.


Once opens April 25. Don’t miss it!

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