November 8, 2017 - January 19, 2018 |  Gompertz Theatre

Winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical! Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, Once draws you in from the very first note and never lets go; an unforgettable story about going for your dreams and the power of music to connect us all.

Once with book by Enda Walsh with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Based on the Motion Picture Written and Directed by John Carney. 

View a large print version of our playbill.

View The Gompertz Theatre Seating Chart.


Director  |  Jason Cannon
Original Production Concept | John Tiffany (Director)
Music Director  |  Darren Server
Movement Director  |  Savannah Holds
Scenic Designer  |  Jeff Dean
Lighting Designer  |  Thom Beaulieu
Costume Designer  |  Susan Angermann

Dialect Coach  |  Greg London
Sound Designer  |  Thom Korp
Movement Supervisor  |  Hannah Bagnall


Guy  |  Ben Paul Williams*
Girl  |  Elizabeth Nestlerode*
Billy  |  Chris Blisset*
Da  |  James Young*
Ex-Girlfriend  |  Lauren Wainwright
Andrej  |  Seth Eliser*
Reza  |  Sarah Hund*
Svec  |  Grant Alan Watkins
Baruska  |  Emily Mikesell*
Ivonka  |  Nya Chambless/Olivia Schaedler-Luera 
Bank Manager  |  Paul Michael Lincoln*
Emcee  |  Nicholas Lerangis
Eamon  |  Kent M. Lewis*

* Denotes member Actors’ Equity Association. The Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Ben Paul WilliamsBEN PAUL WILLIAMS (Guy) Roles include Lee Harvey Oswald (Oswald: The Actual Interrogation); Nat Paradis (Last Gas by John Cariani); Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet); Hamlet (Hamlet); Carl Perkins (Million Dollar Quartet); Steve (Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash); Jim (Pump Boys and Dinettes); and Mozart (Amadeus). Ben has been a singer/songwriter for over 20 years, received actor training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, holds a degree in Philosophy and Performance from Cornell University, and is currently developing a solo show based on his original music. benpaulwilliams.com @benpaulinfo

Elizabeth NestlerodeELIZABETH NESTLERODE (Girl) is thrilled to be making her Florida Studio Theatre debut. BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Miami, Off-Broadway: The Meanest Birthday Girl (Meanest Birthday Girl). New York/Regional: Gypsy (Louise); Violet (Violet); …Spelling Bee (Olive); The Buddy Holly Story (Vi Petty, with director Hunter Foster); 54 Forever (director Tommy Tune); Aida, and The Who’s Tommy (director Brian Yorkey). Readings: Clue; One Hit Wonder. TV: The Late Show with David Letterman. elizabethnestlerode.com @elnestle

Chris BlissetCHRIS BLISSET (Billy) is pleased to be at FST. Other credits include: Stand by Your Man (2 national tours – Actor, MD); Ring of Fire; and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Director, MD, Actor, all over); Cotton Patch Gospel; The Full Monty; Twelfth Night; Keep on the Sunny Side; Smoke on the Mountain; Great American Trailer Park Musical; Million Dollar Quartet; and Civil War (Actor/Musical Director/Director in various projects). He can be seen coast-to-coast and on YouTube doing stand-up comedy. chrisblisset.com

James YoungJAMES YOUNG (Da) Broadway: Crazy For You (Custus); My Fair Lady (Zolton Karpathy) with Richard Chamberlain; Me and My Girl (Bill Snibson stand-by for Jim Dale); The Tap Dance Kid; A Chorus Line. Numerous tours and regional theatre, in a career spanning 38 years as an AEA member. Film and Television: Annie; Ricki and the Flash; Search Party/TBS; numerous national and regional commercials. The productions Mr. Young continues to be most proud of are his daughters, Kristina and Alessandra. 

Lauren WainwrightLAUREN WAINWRIGHT (Ex-Girlfriend) is an NYC-based actor/musician who’s thrilled to be a part of this beautiful show! Regional: Violet; The Winter’s Tale; Brighton Beach Memoirs; Guys and Dolls (Festival 56); Love’s Labour’s Lost (Great Lakes Theatre); Medea (Hydrama Theatre, Greece); Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming (LaComedia). New York: Peace, Love and Cupcakes (Vital Theatre); The Tempest (Torn Out Theatre); Twelfth Night (FringeNYC); Camino Real. Film: The Ides of March. Follow along: laurenkwainwright.com, @wrenwainwright

SETH ELISERSETH ELISER (Andrej) is excited to join the FST team for the chance to help share this heartfelt story, again!  Nat’l Tour: The Lightning Thief; The Music Man. Regional: Once; The Buddy Holly Story; Million Dollar Quartet; Pump Boys and Dinettes; and Hairspray. Seth can also be found playing NYC night clubs and cabarets with various artists. Loves sunflower seeds, beef jerky, and jumping off of waterfalls. @seth_lsr

SARAH HUND (Reza) FST: Pump Boys and Dinettes; Cowgirls; Poems, Prayers, and Promises; American Pie; The Blue Eyed Bettys.  Regional: Into the Woods (The Witch); Les Miserables (Fantine); 9 to 5 the Musical (Judy Bernly); The Foreigner (Catherine Simms); Run For Your Wife (Mary Smith); The Addams Family (Alice) with companies such as The Cherry Lane NYC, Walnut Street Theatre, and Signature Theatre NYC.  She has played with her band, The Blue Eyed Bettys, throughout the U.S., including Lincoln Center.  TV: Law & Order: SVU.  sarahhund.com

Grant Alan WatkinsGRANT ALAN WATKINS (Svec) is very grateful for the opportunity to jump back into Once! National Tour: Once (U/S Svec, Billy, Eamon); Regional: Rock of Ages (Lonny); Dream a Little Dream (John Phillips); The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical (Jackie) at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte; Coraline (Other Father/Policeman) at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte; The Aliens (KJ) at PaperHouse Theatre. 

Emily MikesellEMILY MIKESELL (Baruska) most recently appeared on an FST stage in Older Than Dirt last season in the Court Cabaret.  Audiences may also remember her from Kings of Country; Urban Cowboys; Guitar Girls; or Pump Boys and Dinettes. Off-Broadway: Woody Sez; Lone Star Love; Radio Gals; Cotton Patch Gospel; Swingtime Canteen. Favorite Regional credits include: James Joyce’s The Dead (Capital Repertory Theatre); Stonewall Country (Barter Theatre); and Oil City Symphony (Pasadena Playhouse). 

Nya ChamblessNYA CHAMBLESS (Ivonka) is excited about her first play at FST. Nya was last seen in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at The Players and has been in several indie short and thesis films as well as national commercials. Some of her film/commercial credits include Fear; Stars; Drawn to the Broken; Life’s Milestones; The Giving Challenge; and Krylon campaign. Nya studies music, dance, acting, and martial arts and is in the gifted 2nd grade program at Bay Haven.

Olivia Schaedler-Luera OLIVIA SCHAEDLER-LUERA (Ivonka) is very excited to be making her Florida Studio Theatre debut. She has previously taken part in FST Youth Summer camps, and has performed at the Sarasota Opera House with the Sarasota Ballet School productions of Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin. She is currently in the second grade and the proud caretaker of two puppies, a frog, a snail, and several lizards.

Paul M. LincolnPAUL LINCOLN (Bank Manager) is happy to be making his Florida Studio Theatre debut. He is one of New York’s most prominent vocal coaches and teachers. As a performer, favorite productions include Allegro directed by John Doyle, Cabaret directed by Rob Marshall and Sam Mendez, and Souvenir. At the Goodspeed Opera House, he has performed in Very Good Eddie and Houdini, as well as Indian Joe written by Elizabeth Davis; who was nominated for a Tony for Once on Broadway. paullincoln.com

Nicholas LerangisNICK LERANGIS (Emcee) This is Nick’s first stage musical. As a performer, Nick tours and records in his band, Evening Darling, who were featured in Jam in The Van’s 2016 SXSW showcase. As a songwriter, Nick co-wrote “Anna Sun” in 2011 with indie-pop darlings Walk The Moon. The song found top-20 positions in the Billboard charts as well as several year-end awards. Nick composed the music for and starred in an original garage-rock play called The Highwayman that was featured in Ars Nova theater’s 2014 ANT Fest.

Kent LewisKENT M. LEWIS (Eamon) comes to us direct from Chicago where he appeared as Sam Phillips in Million Dollar Quartet at The Paramount Theatre. This past summer Kent played lead electric guitar and brought Norman Petty to life in The Buddy Holly Story at Bucks County Playhouse. Kent toured North America with Billy Elliot and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and starred in Mamma Mia in Las Vegas. For more about Kent visit kentmlewis.com

JASON CANNON (Director) is an Associate Artist at FST, where his responsibilities include directing, teaching, New Play Development, and the Acting Apprentice Program. Most recently he directed Robin Hood; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Burt & Me; The Dragon vs. the Hiccups; Gidion’s Knot; Stalking the Bogeyman; Million Dollar Quartet; The Velveteen Rabbit; Relativity; My Name is Asher Lev; and Butler (which earned him Best Director nominations from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Creative Loafing). His performance as “Ever Montgomery” in Dancing Lessons garnered him “Best Actor of 2015” awards from both Sarasota Magazine and Sarasota Herald-Tribune. He also appears regularly with FST Improv. Proud member SDC, AEA, SAG-AFTRA. jasoncannon.biz

DARREN SERVER (Music Director) is proud to be back at FST for his third season. Last season, he music directed: Million Dollar Quartet; Piano Men; Older Than Dirt; and Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. At the Asolo Repertory Theatre, he music directed, composed, and arranged the music for Ah, Wilderness! and The Drunken City. This season he music directed Oedipus. Interesting fact: Darren’s grandfather is “Curly” Howard of The Three Stooges and his great-uncles are Moe and Shemp Howard. This has always been a source of pride and inspiration for him. Follow Darren on his family’s website: thegrandstooges.com. 

JEFF DEAN (Scenic Designer) has designed over 200 shows in Florida including televison/film. Asolo Repertory, Sarasota Opera Association, American Stage, and Banyan Theatre. For Florida Studio Theatre: Million Dollar Quartet; Over The River And Through The Woods; Execution of Justice; Invictus; The Sum of Us; and Burt & Me. A nationally-recognized sculptor and member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, New York, recipient of two Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Awards for Set Design. Jeff recently designed the new theatre spaces in the Gompertz renovation, including lobby, cafe, and marquees.

SUSAN ANGERMANN (Costume Designer) began designing for Florida Studio Theatre in 1993 for the WRITE A PLAY production of The Emperor’s New Clothes. She has designed for the Mainstage, Stage III,  Cabaret, and other WRITE A PLAY productions. Among recent productions are The Exonerated; Stalking the Bogeyman; Yesterday; Older Than Dirt; Piano Men; Chapatti; and Robin Hood

THOM BEAULIEU (Lighting Designer) is an award-winning lighting and sound designer. His work has been experienced throughout the eastern US including Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, brownsville song (b-side for tray), Older Than Dirt, and Burt & Me (Florida Studio Theatre); The Waltz, Godspell, Carrie: the Musical, and Cabaret (The Winnipesaukee Playhouse); A Chorus Line, Floyd Collins, Sweet Charity, and Singin’ in the Rain (Aurora Theatre). He holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, and an MS in Physics.

THOMAS KORP (Sound Designer) a former FST intern, is excited to be entering his second season as staff. Sound design credits include Burt & Me; The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey; The Columnist; Talley’s Folley; A Chorus Line; Spamalot; and The West Side Waltz. Mixing Credits: Next to Normal; Das Barbecü; Smokey Joe’s Café; The World Goes Round; Tango: Buenos Aires; We Will Rock You; Sound engineer with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines 2014 – 2016.

ROY JOHNS (Stage Manager) is pleased to be back for another season at FST. He has had an exciting and varied career both on stage and behind the scenes from Tokyo Disneyland to the White House. Past credits at FST include: Doublewide; The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey; Burt & Me; Rich Girl; brownsville song (b-side for tray); Million Dollar Quartet; The God of Isaac; The Roommate; The Fabulous Lipitones; Alabama Story; Outside Mullingar; One Man, Two Guvnors; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Chapatti; Hairspray; and Taking Shakespeare.

GREG LONDON (Dialect Coach) National tours: Hairspray (Edna Turnblad); West Side Story (Doc); Fiddler on the Roof (Lazar). International tours: Hairspray (Edna); The Fantasticks (Bellamy). Off-Broadway: Spurn. Regional: Hairspray (Edna, Florida Studio Theatre); The Drawer Boy (Angus, Cortland Rep); Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre, D.C.). Created role of “Peter” in world premiere of Lanford Wilson’s Los Alamos, directed by Marshall W. Mason. L.A. Critic’s Choice Award: Best Actor in a Touring Production: Edna, Hairspray. Greg was the 2007 national winner of the Eugene O’Neill Award for Dramatic Writing.

SAVANNAH HOLDS (Movement Director) is a second-generation choreographer, television actress, and Broadway performer.  Some of her choreography credits include Working; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; and Cabaret.  She has also had the pleasure to teach with Fineline Theatre Arts, The Broadway Theatre Connection, and Mount Carmel Academy.  She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. 

HANNAH BAGNALL (Movement Supervisor) is the Education and Outreach Associate at FST, coordinating the WRITE A PLAY program. Prior to moving to Sarasota two years ago, she performed, choreographed, and served on the Board of Directors at Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla, Missouri, and owned a sewing business. In 2011, after earning her BFA in Musical Theatre Performance, she toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre in Pinocchio. She likes to do lots of things around FST: you may find her choreographing, sewing, greeting students, or even on the stage!


Learn more about how Once evolved from critically acclaimed international independent film into an original Broadway experience.  |  LEARN

Want to learn more about Once? Click here to find out more interesting facts about the show  |  LEARN

Watch clips of the 2016 Once National Tour |  WATCH