Review: Colorado premiere of ‘Once’ meets high expectations

Classical musicals such as “The Music Man,” “The Sound of Music” or “Annie” follow a main character as they better themselves and the situation around them.

Modern musicals tend to differ in formula. They are a more raw and realistic look at human stories, creating their own ideas of what a happy ending should be. “Once” falls into that category.


‘Once’ at Midtown Arts Center now playing through November 11.

“Once” is the complicated love story of an Irish guy and Czechoslovakian girl. After Guy’s girlfriend leaves him in Dublin to move to New York, he is left in a broken and depressed state. It is not until Girl hears him playing music that his life begins to move along. She helps him pursue and follow his dreams. The show is rounded by the loving and crazy family and friends of Guy and Girl who help them along their journey.

The state premiere of “Once” at Midtown Arts Center has high expectations after winning eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book on Broadway. It’s Irish music mixed with  Czech music. A unique sound unlike other musicals, from a plethora of soothing songs like “Gold” or “Falling Slowly” to upbeat and ethnic songs like “Ej, Pada, Pada.”

“Once” also requires extra work from its actors. The performers on stage are also the orchestra. Each character has an instrument that they play on the edge of the stage.

This is can be a risky musical to produce. Its unique sound, mixed with the slower and more emotional plot line and the fact that the actors are also the orchestra, are unusual aspects that can pose issues. If not done correctly it can sound clunky and look uncoordinated. But if a theater is able to pull it off it can have a large reward in the quality of art created.

View our coverage from the national tour of “Once.”

Once Midtown Arts

The cast of ‘Once’ at Midtown Arts Center. Photo credit: Dyann DIercks Photography

Midtown Arts Center beautifully brings together this production, giving “Once” the introduction to Colorado it deserves.

Barry DeBois and Elena Juliano play Guy and Girl, perfectly portraying the lovers crossing-in-the-night story. They are both stoic, broken and with the help of others, open their hearts only to realize that their relationship simply could not work. Their renditions of “Falling Slowly” awakes the soul and brings a tear to every eye.

These stunning actors performed the music flawlessly, making your soul leap with every note. Scenic design by Mickey Burdick were a treat for the eyes and helped create this encompassing world.

The choreography presented a small problem with a performance that made the cast lookout of sync with each other, making it slightly distracting.

“Once” marks another beautiful production for Midtown Arts Center, setting the bar high for what a regional theater company can do with this emotional, unique and challenging musical.

Once Midtown Arts Center

The cast of ‘Once’ at Midtown Arts Center. Photo credit: Dyann DIercks Photography

“Once” at Midtown Arts Center ***½ (out of four)

Ticket Information:

“Once” is now playing at Midtown Arts Center, 3750 S Mason St, Fort Collins, CO 80525, CO. Directed by Kurt Terrio. Starring: Barry DeBois and Elena Juliano. Through Nov. 11. Tickets start at $54. For tickets visit or 970-225-2555.

The Nightly Met: Stokes, Wells, The Wooden Spoons

What a fun episode of hilarity with Steven Stokes from the City of Northglenn, Bob Wells from Seussical the Musical at Town Hall Arts Center and The Wooden Spoons
Review: Colorado premiere of ‘Once’ meets high expectations
Classical musicals such as “The Music Man,” “The Sound of Music” or “Annie” follow a main character as they better themselves and the situation around them.

Body acceptance out in public
The issue of body acceptance is an ongoing problem. Although there is more rhetoric than ever about loving and valuing oneself in the last couple of years, men and women still struggle with
The Westons have arrived in Denver
The Pulitzer Award winning play “August: Osage County” is making its Denver premiere at Vintage Theatre.

2016 Henry Lifetime Award winner Deb Persoff takes on the leading role
Review: 'Appropriate' looks at racism with white eyes
In a time when political and racial statements constantly populate our news feeds and television screens, we find ourselves more aware of racial themes in entertainment.
Review: 'Dinner' disappoints at the Edge
As the summer comes to an end, people are rushing to try and get in that last bit of fun. Whether it be trips to the mountains, a couple more picnics or a late-night drive-in movie.
The Nightly Met: Robert Michael, 'In the Heights', Rossman, Shanstrom
Original air date September 1, 2017.

This episode was something special for sure. From musical guests Robert Michael to our interviews with
September Theater Preview: Hits, Adventure and Premieres
September is a time for hits, adventure and premieres! Our monthly theater preview takes a look across the state at hit shows such as ‘Almost Heaven; The Songs
Denver goes down the rabbit hole
Take an unexpected trip down the rabbit hole with “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” the most unique and original theatrical production currently in Denver.

Although the title makes one think
2,500 times as Patsy Cline, the story of Swift-Sawyer

After a four year run in “Always… Patsy Cline” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Melissa Swift-Sawyer tells her and Patsy’s story in a new show. We sat

Author: Avery Anderson

Avery Anderson is the general manager of Met TV. He hosts “The Nightly Met,” an entertainment show that highlights local art and culture. He loves the theater and all art and is an advocate for local theater companies through his many stories. He also enjoys gardening and being outside.
Connect with him through email at

Leave a Reply