They wouldn't trade Broadway veteran Declan Bennett (American Idiot) and Croatian actress Zrinka Cvitešić (Three Sisters) for gold! The pair will lead the upcoming West End production of the eight-time Tony Award-winning musical Once, set to begin performances at the Phoenix Theatre on March 16 in advance of an April 9 opening. John Tiffany, who received a Tony Award for his Broadway staging of the musical, will repeat his work in the United Kingdom.
Bennett has appeared on Broadway in American Idiot and Rent, and the London productions of It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow and Taboo. A singer-songwriter, Bennett's solo albums include The Painters Ball, An Innocent Evening of Drinking, and Record: Breakup.
Cvitešić is a member of the Croatian National Theatre, where her credits include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shopping and F**king, and The Threepenny Opera. She has appeared in the film What is a Man Without a Moustache, and won the Croatian version of the reality television competition show, Dancing With the Stars.
The musical, set in Dublin, Ireland, follows the unlikely friendship between Guy (Bennett), a broken-hearted vacuum fixer, and Girl (Cvitešić), a Czech pianist who encourages him to follow his dream of pursuing a life in music. Joining the pair are Valda Aviks (Baruska), Ryan Fletcher (Svec), Aidan Kelly (Billy), Gareth O'Connor (Eamon), Michael O'Connor (Da), Miria Parvin (Ex-Girlfriend), Jos Slovick (Andre), Flora Spencer-Longhurst (Reza), Jez Unwin (Bank Manager), and Gabriel Vick (Emcee), with Poppy-Lily Baker, Mia-Jai Bryan, Pacha Anna Green, and Nancy Ann Jeans alternating the role of Girl's daughter, Ivanka.
Inspired by the acclaimed 2007 indie film of the same name, Once features a score by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who received an Academy Award for their original song, "Falling Slowly," and a Tony Award-winning book by Irish playwright Enda Walsh (Misterman). The entire New York creative team will be a part of the show's UK, including Tony nominee Steven Hoggett (movement), and 2012 Tony winners Bob Crowley (sets and costumes), Natasha Katz (lighting), Clive Goodwin (sound), and Martin Lowe (musical supervision and orchestrations).
Prior to its London opening, Once will run at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin from February 22-March 9.