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ONCE Tour Star Stuart Ward Feels ‘Lucky’

October 25, 2013

Heading to Charlotte next September, ONCE is the final show on our 2013-14 Duke Energy Broadway Lights Series lineup. While it’s still months away, I now know firsthand that it’s a show we should all be eagerly awaiting! I saw ONCE on Broadway earlier this week and quickly learned why it’s the winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company  Photo by Joan Marcus

Stuart Ward and Dani De Waal from ONCE.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights, but their unlikely connection proves deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, ONCE draws you in from the very first note and never lets go. It’s an unforgettable story about going for your dreams, not living in fear and the power of music to connect all of us.

Stuart Ward, the lead for the American national tour, sat down with Broadway.com to discuss the role he says he was lucky to get. He opened up about watching the 2006 movie repeatedly, chemistry with his leading girl and his folk-rock inspirations. Following are portions of the interview.

ONCE is a big hit on Broadway and the West End. Are you excited about starring in the American national tour?
I feel really lucky. I’m looking forward to seeing so many amazing cities whilst on the road.

For those who haven’t seen the musical yet, how does it compare to the movie?
The core story is the same, but some characters have been brought to life more than in the film. For instance, Billy, the music shop owner, is a pretty small role in the film, but in the show he’s a much bigger character. The movie is great; I remember instantly falling in love with it when it came out and watching it over and over again. I think seeing the story right in front of you and hearing the music live is what makes the stage show so special.

Have you always been a musician, or did you have to learn guitar for this role? I’ve played guitar since I was 12. I don’t think it’s the kind of role you could learn guitar for, as some of the parts are quite tricky. It would be a bit like getting a part in Cats and then learning how to dance. I’ve worked quite a bit as a guitarist, most recently as Sir Cliff Richard’s rhythm guitarist. No one seems to know who Sir Cliff Richard is over here, which, as an Englishman, is quite surreal to me. Playing the Sydney Opera House with Cliff last February was one of my career highlights.

As Guy and Girl, you and Dani de Waal are so connected. What’s it like working together so closely? Dani is truly amazing. She brings a quality to the part that I don’t even know how to describe. But whatever it is, it’s fantastic to play off. I was feeling a little apprehensive about who would be opposite me, as a huge chunk of my part is played opposite Girl. Dani is a gift, and I’m really excited to see how we develop together throughout the tour.

To read the entire article and Q&A with Broadway.com, CLICK HERE.

Don’t miss your chance to see this amazing show when it comes to Charlotte’s Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Sept. 30-Oct. 5, 2014.

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