Hit musical Once is to extend its acclaimed run at the West End’s Phoenix Theatre to July 2015. Current leads Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić will stay with the production until 8 March 2014.
A bittersweet love story, Once follows an Irish musician on the brink of giving up music for good. A chance encounter with a young Czech mother sparks a deep connection, an unexpected friendship and a renewed passion.
Written by playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh, and based on the Oscar-winning film of the same name, Once opened in London in spring 2013. Official London Theatre’s Charlotte Marshall described the production as “Arguably the most romantic show in the West End since Brief Encounter”.
When Bennett leaves Once’s working onstage pub behind – the bar provides both a set for the show and a novel spot for the audience to quench their thirst – he’ll move to another iconic drinking establishment, EastEnders’ Queen Vic.
Speaking about the move, Bennett said: “In April last year I began what has been an incredible journey at the Phoenix Theatre playing the role of Guy in Once. This job has given me one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I will only have fond memories and great recollections of my time in the show. I am very excited to be embarking on a very different path in my career moving from stage to screen playing Charlie Cotton in the iconic BBC TV soap EastEnders. I, of course, will miss treading the boards in the West End, but I am very much looking forward to inhabiting my new East End role. I wish the new Once cast as much enjoyment and pleasure as I have experienced throughout my time with the show.”