A ‘Once’ in a lifetime chance for Dylan

Star struck: Dylan pictured with former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating, who took the lead role in Once in the West End.
Star struck: Dylan pictured with former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating, who took the lead role in Once in the West End.

An Eglinton teen has just secured a major role in the West End tour of hit musical ‘Once’ - which will be arriving in Ireland in July.

Dylan Reid (19) will play Andrej in the Tony award winning musical, based on the film of the same name.

He describes the experience of securing the role as “beyond what he expected” - revealing that being in the right place at the right time - and having a bit of a good old Derry brass neck helped him score an audition.

“I was just finishing panto in the Millennium Forum in Derry after Christmas when I heard that the show was coming to Dublin and that they were auditioning for people to take part in the tour.

“I remember saying there was no point in auditioning. I didn’t have an agent and I said no one gets a big role like that without an agent.

“But I decided to email them anyway and ask if I could get an audition slot - I was chancing my arm really. I didn’t even fit the age profile - they were looking for someone over 22 and I’m 19.”

The production company came back to ask Dylan if he played an instrument - as all characters in the show must play - they were impressed when he told them he could play piano and guitar and asked him to send on his CV.

When he hadn’t heard anything a few weeks later, and just happened to be in Dublin, he decided to take the bull by the horns and call them directly and ask for a meeting.

“I knew that I wouldn’t get an audition unless they met me first,” he said - adding that when they agreed to meet him the following day he extended his stay especially.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said - although it did leave him with the challenge of having to learn to play bass guitar in just two weeks.

“That was good craic,” he laughed. Following a four stage audition combining singing, playing the bass, acting and choreography Dylan learned he had secured the prestigious role.

“They are billing this as Once’s homecoming to Dublin,” he said, “Which is brilliant. But after Dublin the tour will move to South Korea.

“It’s very surreal to have this happen but I can’t wait to get started.”

For the Eglinton teen it may seem that the stage was always destined to become a way of life for him - son of director Deigh Reid and choreographer Venessa Chapman he said he had “no choice” but to choose the performing life.

“It’s something I just love,” he said. “Performing in any form and I am very lucky to have had some great opportunities.”

Rehearsals for Once start in June with the show playing at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin from July 4 to August 22.