Once musical heads for Broadway

Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti in Once the Musical Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti play the unnamed protagonists in Once the Musical

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A musical version of Oscar-winning film Once is headed for Broadway next year after its debut production earned rave reviews at a small Manhattan theatre.

Once, currently running at the New York Theatre Workshop, is based on the 2006 Irish film about a busking musician who falls for a Czech immigrant in Dublin.

The film went on to win the Oscar for best song at the 2008 Academy Awards.

The musical will move to the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre in February after its off-Broadway run ends on 15 January.

Adapted for the stage by Hunger screenwriter Enda Walsh, Once will have its opening night on 18 March.

The show sees Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti play the 'Guy' and 'Girl' roles created on screen by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Hansard and Irglova continue to perform together as The Swell Season, also the title of a documentary made about them that screened at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Songs from Once - among them the Oscar-winning ballad Falling Slowly - feature in the musical, which had its official opening on Tuesday at the New York Theatre Workshop.

News of its Broadway transfer coincided with the opening and the publication of several favourable reviews.

"Once is that rare kind of musical which theatre lovers will want to see again," said Variety's critic in its review of the show.

"This bewitching stage adaptation arguably improves on the movie, expanding its emotional breadth and elevating it stylistically," opined the Hollywood Reporter's reviewer.

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