By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated March 20, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
ONCE Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti
Credit: Joan Marcus

Despite the cross-continental impossibility, Hollywood Boulevard and Broadway have long shared a popular intersection. There are movies that have become musicals (Sister Act, Ghost), musicals that have become movies (Mamma Mia!), and movies that have become musicals that have become movies (The Producers, Hairspray). But how does a film as small and fragile as Once fare when mounted on the Great White Way?

Like the Oscar-winning 2006 indie film on which it’s based, Once spins a straightforward lad-meets-lass yarn about a Dublin boy (Steve Kazee) with music in his heart and the Czech girl (Cristin Milioti) with the key to unlock it. Boiled down to its essentials, the story is exactly as cloying as you might expect, but luckily the production’s jiggy folksiness is tempered by thrifty staging, a series of loose, foot-stomping musical numbers, and some genuinely heartfelt moments that cut through the twee.

Little has been altered from the show’s successful Off Broadway run, and the smaller charms don’t wither under the brighter spotlights. The cozy pub that acts as the sole set is still open for business during intermission, and the actors (all of whom play instruments) still kick off with an energetic preshow recital of Irish tunes. In all, it’s like getting beaten over the head with a bowling-ball bag full of whimsy. You may wince, but eventually you’ll succumb. B

(Tickets: or 800-432-7250)