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Tuesday Tune: ‘Leave’ From ONCE the Musical

August 12, 2014
Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company © Joan Marcus

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

ONCE practically swept the 2012 Tony Awards, winning eight of the 11 awards it was nominated for, including best musical, best direction of a musical and best orchestrations. The last show in our Duke Energy Broadway Lights Series lineup, ONCE tells the story of a Dublin street musician who is down on his luck and about to give up on his dream.

At the open of the musical, he’s performing in a bar for what seems to be the last time. Enter a young Czech woman, mysterious and curious, who becomes fascinated with his song and, ultimately, him. “Leave” is the song that sparks the girl’s curiosity and sets the tone for the rest of the show.

It’s a heart-wrenching ballad featuring the guy with his guitar belting what seems to be a song of unrequited love and defeat. I was a fan of the original 2006 film version of ONCE and immediately fell in love with the music. My favorite song after seeing the movie was “Falling Slowly,” which won the Academy Award for best original song in 2008. That all changed when I had the chance to see the original Broadway production of ONCE, featuring Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, in 2012. I was blown away by the fact that all the actors are also the band, and carry and play the instruments throughout the entire show. “Leave” was hands-down my favorite song from the musical.

Kazee, who won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, performed it with so much raw emotion I was nearly moved to tears, and the show had just started. Within the first 10 minutes, sniffles were ringing throughout the audience and I thought to myself, “this is gonna be a roller coaster of emotions.” I was right.

Listen to Kazee’s version of “Leave” below and you’ll know exactly what I mean. This is from the Original Broadway Cast Recording, which won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. There’s no doubt this song was a major factor in that win. Kudos to Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard for creating such beautiful music for the film and stage versions!

While this song alone is moving and haunting, seeing it live adds a whole new level of emotion. So, I encourage everyone to come to ONCE. You will not be disappointed. If you think ONCE is just another love story with pretty songs and a happy ending, you are so wrong. You must see it for yourself!

ONCE plays Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Sept. 30-Oct. 5. Seats are selling fast, so get tickets today!

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