Once stars take time out in Bendigo

MUSIC: Tom Parsons and Madeleine Jones play songs on the steps of The Capital theatre.

MUSIC: Tom Parsons and Madeleine Jones play songs on the steps of The Capital theatre.

LEAD actors for the new Australian production of musical Once visited Bendigo on Friday ahead of starting rehearsals.

Tom Parsons and Madeleine Jones play an Irish busker and a Czech immigrant who meet in Dublin and fall in love over their passion for music.

Once was initially filmed and produced in Ireland and released in 2006. 

The Irish film won the Oscar for best song (Falling Slowly) and in 2012 premiered on Broadway to sell-out performances.

Music and lyrics for the show and film were written by Glen Hansard and Maketa Irglova who also starred in the film.

Jones graduated from the Actors Centre in 2009 and has featured in shows such as Cabaret, Equus with New Theatre and the Australian Shakespeare Company's production of Wind in the Willows.

The Sydney-based actor was cast in the role of the girl in February before Parsons was added to the cast. 

"A role comes around every so often that you think I could do that, I'd love to do that and thankfully here I am. It's amazing," Jones said.

"It's a simple beautiful love story full of some of the most amazing music you will ever hear."

"I've done mostly straight theatre shows since finishing drama schools but I really loved music and played piano when I was younger."

The pair are eager to get on the stage and start rehearsals.

"It's been a bit of a wait and we're keen to get stuck in," Parsons said.

"(Glen Hansard's songs) are big shoes to fill. Vocally it's a big old sing but his guitar playing is insane, it's hard to get your head around the rhythms he plays.

"It's a real gift of a part, I can't wait."

Parsons graduated from London's Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and has featured in shows such as Mamma Mia, Avenue Q and Concrete Jungle.

The British-born performer toured Australia with the Jesus Christ Superstar tour last year before being cast as the guy in Once.

"There are very few parts that are suited to me as well as this one," he said.

"I've been in bands since I was a teenager so I've always been playing guitar but I've done a lot of musical theatre as well."

Once opens in Melbourne on Saturday, October 4. 

To watch a video of Tom Parsons and Madeleine Jones performing Oscar-winning song Falling Slowly, visit www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au

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