Ronan Keating takes the lead in Once in his West End debut

The Boyzone singer will star in the romantic musical adapted from the Oscar-winning film

Ronan Keating is to join the cast of the romantic West End musical Once, playing the lead role of the unnamed "Guy".

The Boyzone singer, who also had a series of solo hits, said he was "bowled over" when he first saw the Dublin-set show, and called the production a "modern-day masterpiece". He added that he was "completely overwhelmed" to be offered the role: "I knew it would be perfect - this was my home town, my people, and the place where I began my own music career. But as exciting as that is, it's scary, too. I've never performed on the West End, and this is a huge challenge and commitment."

The story of an Irish busker and a Czech immigrant bonding over a love of music, Once was first a low-budget film in 2007, eventually winning an Oscar for best song with Falling Slowly. It successfully transferred to the stage, first in New York in 2012, where it won eight Tony awards. As well as continuing on Broadway, it is also currently playing at the Phoenix theatre in London's West End, where Keating will perform.

Michael Billington gave the London production four stars when it opened last year, praising its "simplicity, charm and air of sweet melancholy ... Instead of the usual industrial spectacle what we get is a musical about people and life's missed opportunities ... an unusual musical in its stress on pure emotion and its apparent informality."


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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