When Millenials aren’t caught up in Tinder swiping, treadmill training, or craft beer sampling, they should be at the Boston Opera House checking out the Broadway production of “Once” running through Jan. 19.
The Tony-winning production is more than just a musical. It’s an interactive stage show that transports you into the lives of a Guy and a Girl, somewhere around the same age as struggling 20-somethings, as they’re trying to make sense of quarter-life crises and life-altering decisions in the same way that we are. If that overarching reason isn’t enough to get you into a seat before it leaves Boston on Sunday, here are five more for you to mull over before you buy a ticket.
You’ll remember your dreams are worth chasing
When Guy (Stuart Ward) and Girl (Dani de Waal) meet, Guy’s practically inconsolable. A down-on-his luck Irishman who lost his girlfriend to an overseas dream of the Big Apple (and eventually a Guyfriend to match), Guy is nothing more than a choked up vacuum repairman with about as much positivity in his veins as a chubby kid in gym class. But Girl changes all of that. Despite living in a house with fellow Czech immigrant roommates, her mother, and raising her daughter on her own, she still has a bright outlook, and somehow finds room to share her positive attitude with Guy. She manages to convince him that his dreams of being a musical success are worth chasing and that nothing is too far-fetched to believe. She might help you, too.
You’ll feel better about that avant garde haircut
When Miley Cyrus decided to chop off her hair, we said bravo, and then we started staring at ourselves in the mirror for long periods of time wondering if we could pull it off. I thought about going for the Evan Rachel Wood (I’m still thinking about it) but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Jennifer Hudson said sayonara long locks, then Jennifer Lawrence, and the trend caught on like wildfire. While some of my daring Millennial friends may be regretting their Miley moment now, after seeing how well Claire Wellin (above) pulls off the half-shaved head in “Once,” they’ll remember to embrace the fact that they’re young and can do whatever they want — for now. Wellin’s racy Reza is one of the ensemble castmembers that make this production so special. Rather than just being a pretty voice (with amazing hair), Wellin and the rest of the crew are musicians equally talented in dazzling with their vocal talents as they are at dancing with fiddles, cellos, guitars, and percussion.
You’ll feel like your money was well spent
Try a new restaurant lately? Throw your money down the drain? Trying this production out won’t be like sampling the newest duck fat-confit-burger-topped with-bacon-sunny side egg-and-cheese thing at the gastropub down the street which you might then regret when you realize too late that your gut just said “no.” Spending the money on this ticket, whether it’s a student rush purchase (limited availability) or a full-price splurge, will be worth it. You’ll walk out of the theater knowing that you just saw a piece of culture that wholly pertains to your generation, that was performed mostly by your generation, and that speaks directly to your generation. You’ll probably (if you’re anything like me) leave wanting to go home and watch the film which the play was based on to prove to yourself that there are still things beautiful and pure and simple in the world, like a handsome Guy who fixes vacuums and secretly has a melt-worthy voice that you’ll swoon over.
You’ll be able to enjoy a drink onstage
If you get to the opera house early enough, you can get in line to purchase and enjoy a drink onstage before the show. The set is transformed into a fully operational two-part bar, and those who are lucky enough to make it onstage for a beverage also become part of the production when the ensemble begins performing around them. The space on the stage is limited so we advise getting there at least an hour in advance if this is something in your wheelhouse. Because of the non-traditional way the production welcomes audience members to the theater, there isn’t a typical curtain call. Instead, ushers promptly and discreetly tell those in line (and onstage) that they must return to their seats. It’s a seamless transition that has obviously been perfected over the course of the nationwide tour. The ensemble continues to play while patrons return to their seats, and without warning, the group assembled for the drinking crowd begins the show. It’s magical. The bar access restarts during intermission, but if you aren’t sitting fairly close to the stage, there’s a good chance you won’t get up there during the brief respite.
You’ll remember what it’s like to laugh and find love
Growing up isn’t particularly fun. Laughs can be few and far between when you’re working to live like most of us, and while there are some lucky ones (like my 72 friends) who got engaged over the holidays and have found their one true love, I haven’t. Watching Guy and Girl perform, laughing at their perfected awkwardness and the ill-fated first pass that he makes at her, makes you feel just a little more alive. Watching TV shows and movies is one thing, but to see what could easily be a true story taking place onstage — except for the whole “I’ll pay you in music” thing — is part of what makes “Once” such a success, at least for Generation Y.