Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News: "Happily, Once remains a rare combination of intelligence, warmth and musicality."
David Sheward, Backstage: "Now a stage adaptation has the chance to weave a similar spell over Broadway, after a hit run at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop earlier this season. Some of the intimacy is lost in the transfer to the Main Stem, but the musical maintains its warm and enveloping embrace as well as the quiet power to move and entrance. ... and the result is an unforgettable valentine of a show that you'll likely want to take in more than once."
Charles McNulty, LA Times: "So it’s a little surprising, though very satisfying, to report that the musical “Once” has made a happy Broadway landing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, which has converted its stage into an old-fashioned Irish pub to make everyone feel, if not quite as cozy as they did at New York Theatre Workshop, where the work debuted late last year, at least just as relaxed and welcome ... The only major problem with the show, which stars Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti as the characters known simply as Guy and Girl, is that it overstretches its material. There really isn’t enough story or music for two acts. The film didn’t need more than 90 minutes to complete the arc of this adult fable, and neither does the stage version."
Jonathan Mandell, The Faster Times: “Once stays homey, charming, and inviting; on a smaller scale than usual for a Broadway musical, which turns out to be a good thing. It is also slow moving and slight. It requires patience, or at least the right mind-set, to fall for this show (Falling slowly, indeed.) The musical is an hour longer than the movie. But even with John Carney’s movie script adapted by a first-rate playwright, Enda Walsh (whose most recent play produced in New York was the eerie Misterman), the story in Once the musical is only a bit less sketchy than the film."
Linda Winer, Newsday: "But the musical, with its beguiling book by Enda Walsh, also has the team's new songs, equally strong, with hypnotic rhythms, gorgeous harmonic blends and insinuating melodies that make unexpected interval leaps seem natural and easygoing. Guy is still played with endearing slacker sweetness by Steve Kazee. Cristin Milioti remains pert and odd, with a forthrightness it would be wrong to mistake for pat adorableness."
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: "Whether a broad Broadway public will take to Once is an open question, even if the brilliance of its constituent artistry will surely slay those who most appreciate this form of expression. The music, although beautiful, does not come with the usual tricks. There is neither digital scenery nor spectacle — although I swear I saw the streets of Dublin and the possibilities of the world beyond. This is a show that demands that its audience listen. But then, how can you love if you're not willing to allow someone, something, to be heard?"
Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer: "They won the original-song Oscar in 2007 for "Falling Slowly," in the film and now, a key song in the stage musical. In it, yet another browbeaten lyric for its two main characters commands: "Take this sinking boat and point it home -- you've still got time." Not a bad suggestion for the audience, either."
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: "The wonderful musical “Once” is the sweetest and most romantic show on Broadway and proves that not all love stories lead to the bedroom. [...] The show’s creators deserve kudos for staying faithful to the movie without taking a tracing-paper approach in retelling it."
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: "The new Broadway musical “Once” doesn’t have a swinging chandelier, tap-dancing showgirls or brand-name stars. There’s only one set — and it doesn’t levitate. The show wins its standing ovations the old-fashioned way: with a love story, great songs, compelling characters and inventive stagecraft. At this point in Broadway history, this feels downright revolutionary."