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Pubs are notorious for good music and storytelling, and CCAE Theatricals invites you to come to see ONCE, and experience some great music and storytelling. Set in and around a pub, this show features a very talented cast who sing, dance, and play multiple instruments to bring this story to life. ONCE is playing through May 7th at the California Center for the Arts.

Photo Credit: Ana Marcu as "Girl" and Tom Frank as "Guy" in CCAE Theatricals ONCE"(Karli Cadel)
Photo Credit: Ana Marcu as “Girl” and Tom Frank as “Guy” in CCAE Theatricals ONCE”(Karli Cadel)

This musical follows two strangers in Dublin who meet unexpectedly and find that their interactions, though short, are impactful enough to change the course of their lives. Guy (Tom Frank) and Girl (Ana Marcu) play the lead characters and make their brief, bittersweet romance both beautiful and heartbreaking.

Guy is an Irish singer and songwriter who is nursing a broken heart from when his girlfriend moved to New York and Girl is a Czech immigrant and pianist who loves music but does not have an instrument of her own. After a chance meeting and a deal brokered over a vacuum repair, they find that they literally make beautiful music together.

This show is based on a film of the same name and follows the short span of time where they put together the music, and a band to make a demo of Guy’s songs. As they bring in help from their friends and family; his father, her family, and roommates, even a guitar-playing banker- there is a lot of funny banter and plenty of humor in the play.

Frank as Guy is very good as the creatively stuck and sometimes surly musician. His sometimes growly vocals and speaking style of this emotional character are the perfect foil to Marcu’s talented, but more pragmatic Girl. Marcu’s vocals are beautiful and clear, and her character instantly wins the audience over.

The rest of the cast is equally as talented and versatile. All play instruments, and sometimes more than one, sometimes more than one in a single song! IStandouts were Laura Leo Kelly as Andrej,l as well as Marta Rymer as waitress Reza. David Lamoureux as an intensely devoted soap opera fan/heavy metal drummer, James Michael McHale as a bank loan officer, and David Kirk Grant as music store owner Billy bring the laughs as well.

Directed by J. Scott Lapp the play is very well-paced, and plays with sound and stillness in incredibly effective ways. The acapella song “GOLD” near the end of the show is a beautiful song showcasing their tight harmonies and as well as the character’s hope for the impending album.

The beauty of ONCE is the music and the story of these individuals who fit like perfect puzzle pieces together, the tragedy is that they belong to different puzzles. But together, for a brief moment, they create something truly unique and beautiful together.

How To Get Tickets

You can see ONCE from CCAE Theatricals through May 7th at the California Center for the Arts. For ticket and showtime information go to

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