The Grand Theatre launches 2017/18 season with Once

on the Spriet Stage October 17 to November 4, 2017

Book by Enda Walsh, Music & Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Based on the Motion Picture Written & Directed by John Carney
Directed by Tracey Flye
Musical Direction by Joseph Tritt

A co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

London, ONTARIO - October 11, 2017 — The Grand Theatre opens the 2017/18 Season with its production of ONCE, the Tony-award winning musical, co-produced with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Directed by Tracey Flye and featuring actor/musicians Jeremy Walmsley and Amanda LeBlanc, the pre-show begins with an on-stage bar open for business; patrons are invited to mingle over a drink while the cast entertains with music. ONCE is on the Spriet Stage October 17 to November 4. The show’s Title Sponsor is BlueStone Properties and the Craft Beer Sponsor is Toboggan Brewing Company.

Set in a raucous pub, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician, Guy, on the cusp of giving up his dreams and his chance encounter with a woman, Girl, who refuses to let him. With a powerful score that features the Academy Award®-winning song Falling Slowly, all the music in ONCE is played live on stage by a cast of actor/musicians. Among them, the actors play over 27different instruments which include nine guitars, three violins, two ukuleles, two mandolins, two cajons, melodica, harmonica, piano, bass guitar, a banjo, drums, accordion, and a cello.

Playwright Enda Walsh, a multi-award-winning Irish playwright, won the 2012 Tony Award for the book ONCE. The musical played for three years on Broadway, two years in London’s West End and has been touring worldwide since.  ONCE, the musical, earned eight Tony Awards, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, two Olivier Awards (for the British production), and three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for the Toronto production.

“The play is both timely and timeless. Through Girl and Guy’s journey we are reminded how music transcends language,” said Director Tracey Flye. “It’s a powerful reminder, given the divisiveness we find in our world today, that common ground is possible...that love is possible...that dreams can be re-discovered...and that sometimes, something as simple as a melody can bring us together and allow us to find solace where healing and hope seemed impossible.”

“Most of the music is diagetic, which means the music is being made in real time,” said Musical Director Joseph Tritt. “So the characters are playing music on the street, in a music store, in a pub, around a dinner table, and in a recording studio, rather than breaking into song as in traditional musical theatre. As a result, the music supports the storytelling.”

The cast is comprised of 13 actors and features Jeremy Walmsley as Guy and Amanda LeBlanc as Girl. The ensemble includes Isaac Bell, Nathan Carroll, Duncan Cox, Quinn Dooley, Jeff Hamacher, Duff MacDonald, Jane Miller, Alicia Toner, Daniel Williston, Cory Wojcik, as well as Londoner Zoë Brown.

The Grand’s production of ONCE is on the Spriet Stage from October 17 to November 4: opening night is October 20. Tickets are $29.95  to $84 (includes HST and CIF – prices subject to change). Tickets are available at, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2017/18 Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group.

About the Grand Theatre

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub proudly located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original homegrown stories through COMPASS, a New Play Development Program. The Grand supports educational programming and youth mentorship such as The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a new community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools in 2018 at no cost.

A not-for-profit regional theatre, the Grand produces and presents professional theatre on two stages: the Spriet Stage (839 seats) and the McManus Stage (144 seats). The Grand’s season runs from September to May. The 2017/18 Season is on sale.

Media Call

When:  Tuesday, October 17 at 1:30 pm (cameras, please arrive at 1:15 to set up)
Where:  Grand Theatre Spriet Stage
What ONCE  photo, video, and interview opportunity for media

For more information please contact:
Kate Rapson, Communications Manager, Grand Theatre
krapson [at] (krapson[at]grandtheatre[dot]com) ~  519-672-9030 ext. 247


Svec Isaac Bell
Ivonka Zoë Brown
Andrej Nathan Carroll
Emcee Duncan Cox
Ex-Girlfriend Quinn Dooley
Bank Manager/Music Captain Jeff Hamacher
Girl Amanda LeBlanc
Eamon Duff MacDonald
Baruska Jane Miller
Reza Alicia Toner
Guy Jeremy Walmsley
Billy Daniel Williston
Da Cory Wojcik

Production Team

Director/Choreographer Tracey Flye
Music Director Joseph Tritt
Set and Costume Designer Brian Perchaluk
Lighting Designer Louise Guinand
Sound Designer William Fallon
Assistant to the Director Thomas Alderson
Stage Manager Leslie Watson
Assistant Stage Manager Melissa Cameron
Apprentice Stage Manager Fran Barker
Original Production Concept John Tiffany
Child Supervisors Jean Faulds, Heather Raycraft


Isaac Bell  Svec
For the Grand Theatre: Dream a Little Dream, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.  Theatre Credits (selected): The Wedding Singer (Hart House); Once (Neptune Theatre); No Chance in Hell (Toronto Fringe); Legally Blonde (Randolph Academy); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Randolph Academy).

Zoë Brown  Ivonka
For the Grand Theatre: Shrek The Musical, Elf. Theatre Credits: Beauty and the Beast, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Peter Pan, Aladdin (Drayton); Fun Home (Calithumpian); Meet Me In St. Louis (CMTP); Miracle on 34th Street (Neptune); A Christmas Carol (Soulpepper); The Sound of Music (Stratford). Film/TV Credits: Hair and Toothbrush Song Music Videos (CBC Kids). Upcoming: Honk! (Drayton); The Nutcracker (Ballet Jörgen).

Nathan Carroll  Andrej
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Marathon of Hope (Drayton); The Wizard of Oz (YPT); Chasse Galerie (Storefront); The Drawer Boy (Port Stanley); Once (Mirvish); Two Gentlemen of Verona/The Tempest (St. Lawrence Shakespeare); Salt Water Moon (Common Roof); The Sound of Music (Citadel); Bordertown Café, The Book of Esther (Blyth). Other: Three-time Dora Award-winner for ensemble of Once, Chasse Galerie, and The Wizard of Oz. Upcoming: Honk! (Drayton); Peter Pan (Soulpepper).

Duncan Cox  Emcee
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): South Pacific (Rainbow Stage); “KING”, Together and Aloof, Winnipeg is Beautiful (Winnipeg Fringe); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (University of Winnipeg).

Quinn Dooley  Ex-Girlfriend
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Mamma Mia, Shout! The Mod Musical (Capitol Theatre); Evangeline (Citadel Theatre/Charlottetown Festival); Everything There Is To Know (Musicals Canada); Brantwood, A Man of No Importance, Hello Dolly, Prom Queen, Parade, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre Sheridan). Film and TV credits: Little People (DHX Media). Other: Graduate of Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance.

Jeff Hamacher  Bank Manager / Music Captain
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Once (Mirvish; Mark Rubenstein/Seensee); Charlotte: A Tricolour Play (Theaturtle); pit orchestra musician for Anne & Gilbert, Les Misérables, She Loves Me (Thousand Islands Playhouse). Other: Regular member of Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Melos Early Music Choir & Period Instruments, Limestone Trio; recording session cellist; private teacher of cello, guitar, and viola da gamba; B.Mus. (Western), B.Ed. (Windsor), M.Ed. (Queen’s).

Amanda LeBlanc  Girl
For the Grand Theatre: The Paper Bag Princess and Other Stories. Theatre Credits (selected): Once, Annie (Neptune Theatre); Spoon River (Charlottetown Festival/Soulpepper Theatre); Bittergirl, Pride and Prejudice (Citadel); Twelfth Night, Anne & Gilbert (NAC); Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (Centaur/NAC/BTW); Dear Johnny Deere, (Charlottetown); The Miracle Man, Rockbound (Two Planks and a Passion); Dani Girl, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Talk is Free Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Noises Off (Stephenville Theatre); Lig and Bittle, Wrecked (TNB). Film and TV Credits: Flashpoint (CBS/CTV). Other: Amanda has an album, Yours, truly, co-produced with Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith).

Duff MacDonald  Eamon
For the Grand Theatre: Legends, Twist and Shout. Theatre Credits (selected): Rock Legends, Twist & Shout (Chemainus); Miracle on 34th Street (UCP); A Christmas Story — The Musical (Arts Club); The Drowsy Chaperone (Globe, Regina); Canadian Legends, Guys and Dolls (Drayton); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (US Tour); Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (abridged), The Foursome (Original Cast); Les Misérables (Mirvish, 1st Canadian Cast and 1st National Tour). Film and TV Credits: Incorporated (SYFY); Cinderella Man, Tru Love, Foolproof, Music Man (Disney). Other: Duff has an Indie Folk album, Naked.

Jane Miller  Baruska
For the Grand Theatre: To Master the Art. Theatre Credits (selected): These Are the Songs That I Sing When I’m Sad (Nightswimming Theatre/Boca Del Lupo); You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown! (Dora Mavor Moore Award Nomination, YPT); Shaking the Foundations (Dora Nomination, Buddies); Fly Me to the Moon, Thumbs! (Gravenhurst Opera House); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! (LOL Prods); SUDS (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Disco Goalie (Artword, Aquarius Theatre, National Fringe Tour). Film and TV credits: Hockey Day in Canada (CBC); Erika; The Attik. Other: Soprano in an appella quartet, Spadina Station.

Alicia Toner  Reza
For the Grand Theatre: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Theatre Credits (selected): Once (Mirvish); Chasse Galerie (Soulpepper/Red One Theatre); Spoon River (Soulpepper/Charlottetown); Million Dollar Quartet, Anne of Green Gables, Evangeline, Canada Rocks, Ring of Fire, A Misfortune Workshop (Charlottetown Festival); Cabaret, Legally Blonde, Poodle Skirts to Platform Shoes (Theatre Aquarius); Assassins (TIFT/Birdland/Royal MTC); Ivan vs Ivan, Dear World (TIFT); Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Mayfield/Stage West Calgary). Film and TV Credits (selected): Nothing Personal (Discovery). Other: recently released her debut album, I Learned The Hard Way.

Jeremy Walmsley  Guy
For the Grand Theatre: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Theatre Credits (Selected): Once (Mirvish); Jane Eyre, Harvey, Gone With The Wind (Royal MTC); Footloose (Rainbow Stage); Spring Awakening The Musical (Winnipeg Studio Theatre); Altar Boyz (Prairie Theatre Exchange); Velocity (Persephone); Angels in America Part 1 (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre). Film and TV Credits (selected): Murdoch Mysteries (CBC); Reign (CW); Odd Squad (PBS); Deserted Cities (La Banda Films); Todd and The Book of Pure Evil (Space, Comedy Network); Less Than Kind (HBO Canada). Upcoming: Frankie Drake (CBC); Private Eyes (Global).

Daniel Williston  Billy
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Spoon River, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Soulpepper); Kinky Boots (Mirvish and Australian Tour); Peter and the Starcatcher (WCT); Avenue Q (Stage West); Evil Dead The Musical (Starvox Entertainment); Ain’t We Got Fun (Live Out Loud Entertainment). Film and TV Credits: Dark Matter (SYFY/Bell Media); Heroes Reborn (NBC); Gangland Undercover (The History Channel); Copper (BBC America); Lost Girl (Showcase/SYFY). Other: Graduate of the Soulpepper Academy and St. Lawrence College Music Theatre Performance.

Cory Wojcik  Da
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Kill Me Now (Royal MTC/NAC); Hand to God, Late Company, Billy Elliot: The Musical (Royal MTC); Butcher (PTE); The Jungle Book, Jabber (MTYP); Another Way Home (WJT); The Wizard of Oz, The Producers, Shrek (Rainbow Stage). Film and TV Credits: Nomis, A Dog’s Purpose, The Pinkertons. Other: Cory is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg Theatre and Film Department.

Tracey Flye  Director/Choreographer
For the Grand Theatre: Cabaret. Theatre Credits (selected): We Will Rock You (US Nat’l Tour/Toronto/Asian Tour/SA); West Side Story (Vancouver Opera, Rainbow Stage, Stratford Festival); Evita (Vancouver Opera); Venus in Fur, Buyer & Cellar (ATP); Billy Elliot, Cabaret, Jane Eyre, The Penelopiad, The 39 Steps, Drowsy Chaperone (Royal MTC); Kiss Me Kate, Evita, Romeo and Juliet (Stratford Festival); War Horse, Once (Mirvish); The Wizard of Oz, Little Mermaid, Snow White, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty (Ross Petty Productions); Mamma Mia! (Mirvish/US National Tour). Film and TV Credits (selected): Circus Awesome-us (Neil Patrick Harris, HBO); Christmas Dreams (CBC/MOV); Triple Sensation (CBC TV). Other: Tracey has over 170 directing/choreography/performing credits and has also held an Asst. Professorship in the BFA program at the University of Alberta.

Joseph Tritt  Music Director
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Billy Elliot, Cabaret (Royal MTC); Les Misérables, The Producers (Rainbow Stage); A Man of No Importance, Follies (Dry Cold); Altar Boyz (Prairie Theatre Exchange); Shrek, Rumspringa Break (Sheridan College); Rooms: A Rock Romance, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Winnipeg Studio Theatre). other: Trained at the University of Manitoba and Manhattan School of Music. Completed the Shaw Festival’s Music Direction Internship under Paul Sportelli.

Brian Perchaluk  Set and Costume Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Papers, Over the River and Through the Woods. Theatre Credits (selected): M. Butterfly (Royal MTC/NAC/ ATP); Semele (Pacific Opera Victoria); Time and the Conways, Love From a Stranger (Shaw Festival); Mary’s Wedding (Belfry Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse); Death of a Salesman, Hay Fever (Theatre Calgary); Nutcracker (Royal Winnipeg Ballet); The Drowsy Chaperone (Globe Theatre); Le Dieux du Carnage (Le Cercle Molière); Butcher, The Valley (PTE); Forever Yours Marie-Lou (Stratford); August Osage County, Black Coffee, Billy Elliot (Royal MTC). other: Graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and the University of Winnipeg. Recipient of Gemini, Jessie Richardson, and Prix Rideau awards.

Louise Guinand  Lighting Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Over 70 productions including 11 High School Projects. Theatre Credits (selected): Louise has designed lighting for more than 500 shows in theatres across Canada and the US. Recent credits include Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night (Stratford); Peter and the Starcatcher, The Last Wife (Globe); Dancing at Lughnasa, The Dance of Death (Shaw); A Comedy of Errors (WCTC/ Aquarius/TIP). She has received numerous award nominations including receiving the 1991 Dora Award for Aspects of Love.

William Fallon  Sound Designer
For the Grand Theatre: Evita (High School Project), Hair (Associate Sound Designer). Theatre Credits (selected): Sound Designer: You Are Here (Thousand Islands/Acting Up); The Immigrant (Harold Green); Imprints (Theatre Gargantua); As You Like It (Repercussion Theatre). Associate/Assistant Sound Designer: Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, A Chorus Line, A Little Night Music, The Sound of Music, Crazy for You, (Stratford); Life Reflected (National Arts Centre Orchestra); Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White (Ross Petty Productions); Niágara — A Pan-American Story (Panamania); Aladdin (Disney); This (Canadian Stage).

Leslie Watson  Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Kill Me Now, Black Coffee, My Name is Asher Lev, Myth of the Ostrich, Late Company, Cabaret, Venus In Fur (Royal MTC); Little Shop of Horrors, Cash: Ring of Fire, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline (Rainbow Stage); Little Thing, Big Thing (PTE); over 40 productions as Assistant Stage Manager.

Melissa Cameron  Assistant Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: To Master the Art, The Hobbit, Shirley Valentine; High School Projects: Shakespeare: The Mixtape, Much Ado About Nothing, The Important of Being Earnest, Anything Goes. Theatre credits (selected): The Prince of Homburg, I Claudia, The Last of Romeo and Juliet, Offline (Talk is Free Theatre); Cracked: a new light on dementia (Possible Art); The Last 5 Years, She Loves Me, A Christmas Carol, Cabaret, The 39 Steps (Rose Theatre, Brampton); Pieces (Cue6 Productions); Legally Blonde (Theatre Sheridan); Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Barefoot in the Park, An Ideal Husband, Blithe Spirit, The Glass Menagerie (Watermark Theatre).

Fran Barker  Apprentice Stage Manager
For the Grand Theatre: Debut. Theatre Credits (selected): Production Assistant (Stratford Festival); Cinderella: The PantoAll Shook Up (Drayton Entertainment); Canada 300 (Watermark Theatre); Opera Luminata. Other: Graduate of the University of Waterloo.