I talk a lot. I say a lot of things. But out of all the things I talk about, I don’t think I’ve ever said a sentence more than: “You should go see Once.”

I said it back in 2006, when the small Irish film was playing at the Globe theatre. I sat pretty much alone in the theatre wondering why this new kind of movie musical wasn’t more popular. It went on to win Best Song at the Oscars and also produced my favourite Oscar moment ever.

I’ve said it when Once: The Musical premiered on Broadway in 2012. The rave reviews and the accolades were simply too hard to ignore.  I finally got tickets to see the show two years ago and every time someone told me they were going to NYC, I implored them to see Once.  It went on to win eight Tony awards including Best Musical and Best Actor.

Now I’m saying it again. This time, Once: The Musical is a touring show and has found it’s way in Calgary and its playing here until November 8th.

And even though I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about this musical for almost nine straight years, I bet right now you’re like: “Once?  Never heard of it.”

And that’s okay, that’s not your fault.  As a movie, and as a musical both on broadway and touring, Once has never been about flash. Hell, even its name is painfully forgettable.  But I assure you that if you miss Once for the third time, you will be missing out.

If the Oscar award, Tony awards and endless praise from every critic around the world don’t impress you, I guess it’s hard to sell Once to you.  It’s not a huge production like Wicked, nor does it feature lions like The Lion King. The set never changes and there’s no orchestra. Instead, the cast is filled with talented musicians who sing and play their way through the show. It feels like maritime kitchen party, but with more heart (if that’s even possible.)

The story, which is really quite simple, two musicians meet in Dublin and want to make music together, is really no different than one that we see play out in our lives everyday.  There’s no big villain, unless you count our own fears. Falling in love isn’t simple, nor can it be done over a song. And if you create music, or create art, there’s always someone rooting for you.  But it’s the simplicity of the show that makes it so irresistible. It also allows you to focus on the music, which after all these years, is still as stunning.

My wish is that could tell you to go see Once: The Musical at the Southern Alberta Jubilee, if for no other reason so you can take on the addicting job of telling people how good it is. Because that satisfaction of knowing you sent people to see a really fantastic show, well that’s not something you want to feel just once.

Oh and if you do get to the show, make sure you get there early:

Mike Morrison