Higgins leads tributes to 'Once' musical team

President Michael D Higgins led tributes to the creators of an Irish musical which scooped eight Tony Awards.

President Michael D Higgins led tributes to the creators of an Irish musical which scooped eight Tony Awards.

'Once', the Broadway musical based on the 2006 Oscar-winning film, dominated the prestigious awards in New York last night, picking up eight of a possible 11 accolades.

It was named best musical, with Irish writer Enda Walsh winning the best book of a musical award, John Tiffany winning best director and Steve Kazee best actor in a musical.

Mr Higgins said he was delighted that 'Once', which combined the music of Glen Hansard and the writing of Walsh, was awarded so much.

“Having seen the show last month, I am not surprised that it has received such critical acclaim,” said Mr Higgins, who was still in Poland after the Ireland Euro2012 game.

“This is yet another example of how Irish artists are doing us proud in the international arena.

“I send my warmest congratulations to all concerned, especially to Glen, Enda and the fantastic cast.”

Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote most of the soundtrack for the original film, which won an Oscar.

Other Tony Awards went to Martin Lowe for best orchestration, Clive Goodwin for best sound design, and Natasha Katz got best lighting design while Cork man and veteran Broadway designer Bob Crowley won his sixth award for best scenic design of a musical.

Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan said it was encouraging to see work created by an Irish playwright achieving this level of success at such a prestigious ceremony.

“Congratulations to all involved with this project and of course to Glen Hansard, who continues to inspire through his music, song-writing and his innate talent as a performer on screen and on the boards,” said Mr Deenihan.

“This was a great night for the Irish at the Tonys, yet again, emphasising that our cultural ambassadors have few peers internationally.”

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