A smart and enchanting Broadway musical, Once Upon A One More Time, pays tribute to the Brothers Grimm, the Second Wave feminists, and the indomitable Britney Spears. Directed and choreographed by Keone & Mari Madrid, the show is a technicolor confection. It cleverly plays dumb at times while making poignant points. The performances are splendid to say the least. Notable appearances were made by Justin Guarini and a talented ensemble.
Britney Spears doesn’t appear in the musical but her spirit and tenacity are “sprinkled throughout the production.” The songs, fully authorized and licensed by Britney post-conservatorship, add an enchanting edge to the show. The musical numbers captivated the audience with their levitating charm.
The premise of Once Upon a One More Time is not something you haven’t seen. It features a group of fairy tale characters like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel among others. The infusion of modern sensibilities lends this show its unique identity. The inclusion of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique highlights the evolution of these characters. It etches out their desire to have more than the traditional narrative.
Briga Heelan brings depth and curiosity to the character of Cinderella. The overall experience is enhanced by the minimalist set, pulsing lights, storybook video projections, and witty costume designs. Through their choreography the Madrids reinvent the classic Spears videos and boy band routines. The blend of athleticism and grace is near perfect.
Once Upon a One More Time features a stellar cast. Aisha Jackson as Snow White stands out. Justin Guarini as the charming prince, Adam Godley as the sexist narrator, and Jennifer Simard as the wicked stepmother have all played their parts beyond reproach. Simard’s comedic timing is impeccable, and her portrayal adds a delightful touch to the show.
Once Upon a One More Time offers a happy ending, one that is in line with 21st-century sensibilities. It delivers many surprises and treats along the way. This enchanting musical is devised to win hearts with its smart execution seeped in infectious energy.