Tony-Winning Once Makes Music in Illinois

Playbill, May 2018 — Done on a tiny budget of $150,000, the independent Irish film Once barely made it into theaters. And it easily could have disappeared without a trace, but audiences were captivated by its simple story about two musicians writing songs together and falling in love. After it screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007, Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips became one of its earliest and most enthusiastic champions, calling it “the best music film of any stripe” anyone had made in decades.

But was director John Carney’s film a musical? Not exactly. It certainly wasn’t one of those spectacles where characters suddenly burst into song while fantasy dance numbers break out around them. In fact, it felt more like a documentary, with cameras capturing intimate moments from the real lives of people struggling to make a living with their music. Read the rest of my story about Once at the Paramount Aurora.

Photo by  Liz Lauren