Writers Theatre Creates ONCE In A Lifetime Magic

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When the music and lyrics of a theatrical show can bring you both tears and laughter, you know you have something good. But what a theater and its performers do with a show is where the magic comes from and where a hit can be made. The Writers Theatre’s performance of Once included many, many laughs, a few tears, and for sure solidified itself as a hit in the eyes of the audience.

Let’s start with the theater itself. The Writers Theatre, nestled in downtown Glencoe, a charming suburb of Chicago, is an architectural gem on the outside and a beautiful intimate theater on the inside. It’s a theater in the round, which always helps to submerge the audience deeply into the story being told. No matter where you sit within the theater, you’ll only be at the maximum 8 rows from the performers.

Writers Theater Glencoe Presents Once

Writers Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, Artistic Director Braden Abraham and Director of Artistic Development Bobby Kennedy have added a classic love story to their 2022/2023 season with this show. Once, which is based on the 2007 Irish movie musical, became a Tony Award winning play in 2012 and the story continues to be told in theaters around the world to this day. It’s a beautiful story of love – love that is lost, love that is gained and love that is out of reach. From the minute the show starts, the music pulls you in. It’s Irish and folksy and sentimental all at once.

Writers Theater Glencoe Presents Once

What really made this particular show magical was the cast. They all played instruments (multiples), they all sang, and while they all remained on stage almost the entire show, they still made each scene feel fresh, regardless of the fact that the set really never changed. They moved props fluidly as they danced and sang their way through the show. It seems odd to describe a cast of actors and musicians as moving together like water, but that’s what they did. Credit must be given to the shows Director and Choreographer, Katie Spelman, and its Music Director, Matt Dietchman.

Writers Theater Glencoe Presents Once

They entire cast added humor, often in just the right moments, the ones needed to suppress tears. They brought plenty of heart and soul too. The leads, including Matt Mueller as Guy and Dana Saleh Omar as Girl were fantastic. Matt played the part of a forelorn Irish man perfectly, and Dana nailed her role as the Czech woman who comes into his life at just the right moment to bring him out of darkness. In a quick amount of time these two help each other heal their wounds, and find a way to make their dreams come true. At one point Guy says “there is no point wasting life for fear of living it.” A true statement we should all use as a guide to fully living our lives.

Writers Theater Glencoe Presents Once
Writers Theater Glencoe Presents Once

The supporting cast and musicians were equally as impressive as the two leads. This show truly needed each and every player, and they all added to its greatness. The music, maybe the biggest star of the show, will stay in your head for days. As the most profound song of the show (Falling Slowly) states, “Take this sinking boat and point it home; We’ve still got time; Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice; You’ll make it now.” This play will move you, it will make you smile and it will teach you a good lesson to leave the theater with.

Photos Courtesy of the Writers Theater

Once runs through April 2, 2023 at the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL. Tickets can be purchased and additional information can be found online.


  • Sarah Meyer

    Sarah Meyer is a public relations professional and journalist, with a passion for pop culture, entertainment and fashion.

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About Sarah Meyer 38 Articles
Sarah Meyer is a public relations professional and journalist, with a passion for pop culture, entertainment and fashion.

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