Broadway’s award winning “Once” has a whole new look with the replacement of the two primary stars of the production.
The starring roles, known simply as “Guy” and “Girl,” have been filled by Ben Hope and Laura Dreyfuss, respectively. Hope has actually been performing the role since late January after Steve Kazee, who originated the character, left for vocal rest. Kazee won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) for his role.
Leaving the part of “Girl” is Cristin Milioti, who was nominated for a 2012 Tony Award. She played her final performance on March 24. Two other castmembers also played their final performances that day: Elizabeth A. Davis (as Reza) and Will Connolly (as Andrej). They will be replaced by Claire Wellin and Carlos Valdes, respectively.
Since actors in the musical play their own instruments, it likely helps Hope that he is the leader of his own country band, Ben Hope and the Uptown Outfit. He’s also familiar with playing musicians, having performed as Hank Williams in “Hank Williams: Lost Highway” and as Buddy Holly in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”
Dreyfuss is likely best known for appearing in “Hair” both on Broadway and on the first national tour.
In all, “Once” took home eight Tony Awards at the 2012 ceremonies, including honors for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. The cast later won a Grammy Award at the 2013 Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album.
The musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name centered around the relationship of an Irish street musician and a Czech immigrant. The lead parts were played in the film by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Those actors also wrote the songs featured in the movie and the musical, and Enda Walsh wrote the book for the production. John Tiffany directs, with music supervision and orchestrations by Martin Lowe.