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‘Once’ comes to Marcus Center

The Tony Award-winning show is eclectic, heartfelt

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Photo via Oncemusical.com

One Guy, one Girl, eight Tony awards and eight chances to see the show – “Once” is a truly unique Broadway hit.

“Once” will be playing at the Marcus Center as part of its national tour. The show runs April 5 – April 7 at 7:30 p.m., April 8 at 8 p.m., April 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and April 10 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Discounted tickets for college students are available at the door.

“Once” is a story about Guy, an Irish musician who is ready to throw in the towel and abandon his dreams. He meets an immigrant, Girl, at a bar, who refuses to let him walk away from his music. She shows him how to believe in not only himself, but his muse.

The pair gets enough money to record their own album with some of their friends from the bar. As their connection grows, the story develops into a captivating love story.

While the tour has understudies that are sometimes able to perform for audiences, there has not been any cast turnover thus far.

Dan Tracy plays Eamon, the studio owner that Guy and Girl use to record their music.

“There’s a lot of interesting and unique characters in the show that do a lot of crazy things, and Eamon is the eye into it all,” Tracy said. “I think he’s a little less involved with everyone else’s antics, and he sees everyone for who they are which is crazy and wonderful.”

While Tracy’s character is the eyes and ears onstage, Britt Reagan, an instrument technician, plays that role backstage.

Each actor play his or her own instrument onstage, and as an instrument technician, Reagan is responsible for keeping them in shape and in tune.

In between shows, Reagan transports and repairs any instruments. Before the shows, he makes sure that everything is in place and in tune.

Throughout the show, his job includes giving the actors their proper instruments and fixing any piece that needs a fast repair. All of this is essential for the show to run smoothly.

There are more instruments in the show than most audience members would notice. There are multiple versions of the guitar that Guy plays, but they are all identical. Since there is not enough time to constantly retune one guitar, each of them are tuned for specific parts of the show.

The guitars are just one small piece of all the backstage logistics.

“With any theater piece, or any live event, I don’t think the audience really knows all of the little moving pieces behind the scenes,” Reagan said. “It’s a big big crew, a big family that has to put this thing up every night, and we enjoy it. We have a lot of fun together.”

Aside from working backstage, Reagan has to continuously take care of the instruments while on tour. They can be affected by climate change.

Even though the instruments react to new venues, Tracy said that performing in multiple places has not been difficult since the set remains constant.

“The ‘Once’ set is a very specific set,” Tracy said. “It’s just a box that they drop on stage. Everything is predetermined.”

The set is complete with its own walls, floor and backstage area.

While physically changing venues has not posed too many challenges aside from a busy schedule, it has had mental and emotional challenges.

“When we’re only in a venue for a show or two at a time, itinerary wise, it’s tough,” Tracy said. “I find that a lot of the venues where we’ve come in and stopped by for one night, we’ve had some really great audiences, and I wish that we could provide the show for that city for more than just a night or two.”

However, Tracy said that being a part of such an unconventional show makes the challenges worth it. There are no eccentric dance numbers, but the caliber and eclectic mixture of music is at an extreme height in comparison to some other shows.

“I like how it breaks the mold,” Tracy said.

Reagan also finds fulfillment from being a part of “Once.”

“(The technical team is) not out front and center, so it’s not that kind of gratification,” Reagan said. “It’s more of a personal thing.”

While both men find this show personally rewarding, they hope it inspires audiences.

“I hope they take away the message that you shouldn’t give up,” Tracy said. “A lot of the shows’ themes are about following through on your dreams even when things look dark.”

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