Casting announced for West End production of ONCE


The Producers of the eight time Tony award-winning musical Once today announce that Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić will lead the cast as Guy and Girl respectively in John Tiffany’s West End production of the Broadway hit musical opening at the Phoenix Theatre in Spring 2013.

The London production of Once will open at the Phoenix Theatre on 9 April, with previews from 16 March 2013 and is currently booking to 30 November 2013.  Prior to its West End opening Once will run at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin from 22 February – 9 March 2013.

Once has book by award-winning Irish playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh.  Based on the 2007 motion picture written and directed by John Carney, music and lyrics are by Academy Award® winning Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová who, for Falling Slowly, won the Oscar for Best Original Song.  Scenic and costume designs are by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Clive Goodwin, musical supervision and orchestrations by Martin Lowe and movement by Steven Hoggett. 

Having received the most nominations (35) in the 2012 theatre award season, Once went on to become the recipient of 21 awards, the most on Broadway that year.  As well as winning eight Tony awards including Best New Musical, Once was named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards. The New York production of Once, the fastest Broadway musical to recoup in 16 years, opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in March 2012 where it continues to break box office records. Once will begin a US national tour launched by The Road Company in the summer of 2013.

Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić will be joined by Valda Aviks, Ryan Fletcher, Aidan Kelly, Gareth O’Connor, Michael O’Connor, Miria Parvin, Jos Slovick, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Jez Unwin and Gabriel Vick.   Alternating the role of Girl’s young daughter Ivanka will be Poppy-Lily Baker, Mia-Jai Bryan, Pacha Anna Green and Nancy Ann Jeans.

Based on the much-loved Oscar-winning film, Once is a celebration of love, friendship and music. When an Irish busker and a young Czech mother meet through a shared love of music, their songwriting sparks a deep connection and a tender, longing romance that neither of them could have expected.

Actor singer songwriter Declan Bennett (Guy) has appeared on Broadway and in the West End.  His theatre credits include Rent and American Idiot on Broadway, Taboo at the Venue Theatre and It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow and Our Day Out for the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.  Following success as a member of the band Point Break, he released his first solo album The Painters Ball in 2005.  Bennett’s most recent album Record: Breakup was released in April 2011 preceded by An Innocent Evening of Drinking in 2008. His film credits include Inside Llewyn Davis, Contagion and Downtown Express.  

Croatian born Zrinka Cvitešić (Girl), a theatre, film and television actor, has been a member of the Croatian National Theatre since 2005 where her roles included Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Irina in Three Sisters, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gwendoline in The Importance of Being Ernest, Lulu in Shopping and Fucking and Jenny in The Threepenny Opera.  For her performance in What is a Man Without a Moustache?  she won several awards including The Heart of Sarajevo Award and Best Actress Awards at the Sarajevo Film Festival, the Golden Arena Festival and the Pula Film Festival.  For her performance as Luna in the award-winning On the Path she was named the Croatian Shooting Star at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival and also received a nomination in the Best Actress category at the 2010 European Film Awards.  Her other film credits include The Horseman  and most recently she won the Bernhard Wicki Award for Best Actress at the 2012 Münich Film Festival for her role in My Beautiful Country.   In 2010 Cvitešić won Ples sa zvijezdama, the Croatian version of Dancing with the Stars.

Valda Aviks’ (Baruska) theatre credits include Sweeney Todd for Chichester Festival Theatre and at the Adelphi Theatre, Into the Woods at Regent’s Park Theatre, Caroline or Change and Jerry Springer The Opera for the National Theatre, The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre and The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre.  Her television credits include The Trip, Doctor Who and Bad Penny and on film her credits include Nightbreed.

Ryan Fletcher’s (Svec) theatre credits include Blackwatch, Wolves in the Walls, The Wheel, Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us and Cockroach all for the National Theatre of Scotland, The Infamous Brothers of Davenport for the Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Beautiful Burnout for Frantic Assembly and The Last Witch for the Traverse Theatre Company.  On television his credits include Gary: Tank Commander, Scottish Killers and Filthy Rich.  His film credits include Meal Deal and Mary’s Ride.

Aidan Kelly’s (Billy) theatre credits include Troilus and Cressida, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice all for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Blasted and Have I None for the Lyric Hammersmith, The Man Who Had All The Luck for the Donmar Warehouse, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Antigone for the Gate Theatre and Doubt for the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.  On television his credits include Ashes to Ashes, Murphy’s Law, Proof and On the Edge.  His film credits include The Physician, Eden and Michael Collins.

Michael O’Connor’s (Da) theatre credits include Animal Farm for Theatr Clwyd, The Seafarer and The Weir for Bolton Octagon, Peribanez for the Young Vic, Ghetto, Sunday in the Park with George and The Shaughraun for the National Theatre, The Tempest for the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Terrible Voice of Satan and The Knock for the Royal Court.  His television credits include EastEnders, Law and Order, Dunkirk and Fallout.  On film his credits include National Treasure and Book of Secrets.

Miria Parvin’s (Ex Girlfriend) theatre credits include the international tour of Mamma Mia, Our House on tour, Footloose on tour and in the West End and Starlight Express on tour.  She has performed in several productions with the Finnish National Opera including The Magic Flute.

Jos Slovick’s (Andre) theatre credits include Lost in Yonkers for the Palace Theatre Watford, The Human Comedy for the Young Vic, Love Story for Chichester Festival Theatre and Spring Awakening at the Lyric Hammersmith and in the West End.   His film credits include Les Miserables and The Addicted. 

Flora Spencer-Longhurst’s (Reza) theatre credits include The Importance of Being Earnest for the Theatre Royal Windsor, The Beggar’s Opera for Regent’s Park Theatre, Ghosts for the Young Vic and The Children’s Hour for the Royal Exchange Theatre.  On television her credits include Father Brown, Leonardo, Unforgiven, Wallander, Losing It, The Family Man and Dalziel and Pascoe.  Her film credits include Walking with the Enemy.

Jez Unwin (Bank Manager) can currently be seen in the National Theatre production of The Magistrate.  His West End credits include Ghost at the Piccadilly Theatre, Evita at the Adelphi Theatre and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London Theatre.  His other theatre credits include The Light in The Piazza at the Curve, Martin Guerre for the Watermill Theatre and Pacific Overtures for Leicester Haymarket.  Unwin has recently recorded his first album, Music for a While, a collection of new arrangements of classic Jazz songs.

Gabriel Vick’s (Emcee) theatre credits include Chariots of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre, The Tempest for the Theatre Royal, Bath, Murder in the Cathedral for Oxford Playhouse, La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse, A Little Night Music for the Menier Chocolate Factory, Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre and Avenue Q at the Noel Coward Theatre.  His television credits include White Van Man, EastEnders and My Family.  On film his credits include Les Miserables and The Invisible Woman.

Gareth O’Connor (Eamon) is making his West End debut in Once.  His previous theatre credits include Irish tours of The Bus and Doughnuts.  His television credits include Fair City and he is soon to feature in Channel 4’s The Intern.  He can be seen in the film Agnes Browne.

Enda Walsh is an Irish playwright living in London.  He is the winner of numerous international awards and his work has been translated and produced worldwide.  His recent plays include Misterman,
Penelope, The New Electrical Ballroom and The Walworth Farce.  His other plays include Chatroom, The
Small Things, Bedbound and Disco Pigs.  On film his work includes Hunger which was the winner of the Camera d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival as well as being BAFTA nominated.  Walsh was awarded with the Tony Award and the Outer Critic Circle Award for his work on Once.

John Tiffany won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Awards for his work on Once.  For his production of Black Watch he won the Laurence Olivier and Critics' Circle Best Director Awards as well as a Scotsman Fringe First, a Herald Angel and a Critics’ Award for Theatre in Scotland.  Tiffany was Associate Director for the National Theatre of Scotland from 2005 to 2012 where his productions included Macbeth, Enquirer, Peter Pan, The House of Bernarda Alba, Transform Caithness: Hunter, Be Near Me, Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us, The Bacchae, Black Watch, Elizabeth Gordon Quinn and Home Glasgow.  His other work includes The Glass Menagerie (A.R.T.), Jerusalem for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Las Chicas del Tres y Media Floppies at the Granero Theatre, Mexico City and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, If Destroyed True, Mercury Fur and The Straits for Paines Plough, and Gagarin Way, Abandonment, Among Unbroken Hearts, Perfect Days and Passing Places for the Traverse, Edinburgh.  From 1997-2001 Tiffany was Literary Director at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and from 2001 to 2005 was Associate Director at Paines Plough Theatre Company. During 2010-11 Tiffany was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University.

Glen Hansard’s film credits are The Commitments and Once.   His albums include Strict Joy, the Academy Award® winning soundtrack of Once, The Swell Season, The Cost, Burn the Maps, Set List: Live in Dublin, For the Birds, Dance the Devil, Fitzcarraldo and Another Love Song.  

Markéta Irglová’s film credit is Once.  Her albums include The Swell Season, the Academy Award® winning soundtrack of Once, Strict Joy and Anar.

Once was originally developed at the American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in April 2011.  A developmental run of Once at New York Theatre Workshop began performances in November 2011.  The production went on to break box office records and concluded a sold out engagement including a two week extension.  The Oscar winning independent Irish film was shot in 17 days and was made for $150,000.  It went on to gross $20m worldwide becoming a critically acclaimed international smash.  The soundtrack was nominated for two Grammy Awards.  

The original cast recording of Once is available via Masterworks Broadway, a label of Sony Masterworks -

The Producers of the West End production are Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Frederick Zollo, Brian Carmody, Michael G. Wilson, Orin Wolf and Michael Rose Limited in association with New York Theatre Workshop.


Theatre:                  Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP
Dates:                    16 March – 30 November 2013, press night 9 April at 7pm
Performances:          Monday – Saturday 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees 3pm
                             First Thursday matinee 21 March at 3pm
Prices:                    From 16 March – 9 April 2013:  £49.50 - £19.50, plus concessions
From 10 April – 30 November 2013:  £67.50 - £19.50, plus concessions
A limited number of Day Seats at £19.50 each will go on sale from the Box Office, in person only, from 10am on the day of performance
All ticket prices include a restoration levy
Box Office:              0844 871 7629
Facebook:               OnceMusicalLondon
Twitter:                   OnceMusicalLDN
Youtube:                 OnceMusicalLondon