“Once Upon A… One More Time” is a feminist musical set to the music of Britney Spears that may feel like it is preaching to the choir and needs more oomph in its ensemble numbers.


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“Once Upon A… One More Time” is a feminist musical set to the music of Britney Spears that may feel like it is preaching to the choir and needs more oomph in its ensemble numbers.

General Information

Includes information about the production, cast, staff, venue, and crew.

Director(s)Keone, Mari Madrid
Writer(s)Jon Hartmere
Organizer(s)Resolutions Productions
LanguageEnglish
Attendance TypeOffline
Event StatusOn Schedule
Venue or Network (Marquis Theatre)210 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036
Performance DateMay 25, 2023
First Performance At This VenueMay 13, 2023
Opening Night PerformanceJune 22, 2023
Last Performance At This VenueTo Be Determined
Venue URLhttps://broadwaydirect.com/show/once-upon-a-one-more-time/
Tickets Starting At$59.75
Genre(s)Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT+, Musical
Duration2 Hours and 15 Minutes (with 15-minute intermission)
Noted Performers
CinderellaBriga Heelan
Prince CharmingJustin Guarini
Snow WhiteAisha Jackson
Ariel (Little Mermaid)Lauren Zakrin
Princess PeaMorgan Whitley
OFG (Original Fairy Godmother)Brooke Dillman
Sleeping BeautyAshley Chiu
RapunzelGabrielle Beckford
StepmotherJennifer Simard
BelindaRyann Redmond
BetanyTess Soltau
Prince EruditeRyan Steele
ClumsyNathan Levy
NarratorAdam Godley
Creative Team
Scene DesignAnna Fleischle
Costume DesignLoren Elstein
Lighting DesignKenneth Posner
Sound DesignAndrew Keister
ChoreographyKeone, Mari Madrid
Production DesignSven Ortel

Summary

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In the land of fairytales, stories are repeated every bedtime, and the only change in the last hundred years are stories getting a tad less violent from the Grimm’s Fairy Tales versions, among others. But, it doesn’t appear to be enough for some. Cinderella leads the charge as she questions whether her story with Prince Charming is truly a happy ending, specifically hers.

Enter OFG, “The Feminine Mystique,” and an awakening that the controller of stories, the Narrator, doesn’t appreciate. Especially as Cinderella makes discoveries and she shares them with Snow White, Ariel, Princess Pea, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. Thus leading to what can only be considered a rebellion, if not an outright revolution.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Cinderella

Per The Narrator, Cinderella is the favorite among children. However, despite her popularity and fairy tale ending, Cinderella has questioned and desired more. It is unheard of for the Princesses and for the Narrator, it is a rebellious act to talk about changing anyone’s story.

Prince Charming

Obnoxious, misogynistic, but still certainly charming, Prince Charming is a showman who knows how to manipulate the ladies, but his charm may not be strong enough to combat growing discontent.

Snow White

The fairest of them all is also the dimmest, but when empowered by Cinderella, while Snow White may show minimal signs of common sense, she may have a social intelligence worth noting.

Ariel

Silent due to Ursula, the sea witch, stealing her voice, she signs what she feels for most of the production.

Princess Pea

With everyone else being given lavish endings and stories, Princess Pea is an envious character who will remind any princess who complains the difference between their story and hers.

OFG (Original Fairy Godmother)

Banished due to her going off script and questioning the Narrator with her feminist beliefs, when Cinderella starts asking questions, OFG swoops in to give guidance.

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty is mainly sleepy or a bit drunk, but not much is said or done with the character.

Rapunzel

Rapunzel is a spit fire who increasingly grows tired of people climbing her hair and being unable to wear her natural curls.

Stepmother

The Stepmother just wants what is best for her daughters, and with only knowing how to manipulate men for some sort of power, she cozies up to The Narrator to advocate for Belinda and Betany.

Belinda

With her sister Betany, Belinda tortures Cinderella and questions her journey inspired by “The Feminine Mystique.”

Betany

Betany, potentially the nicer between her and Belinda, is by no means a saint and is still a bully.

Prince Erudite

Prince Erudite is one of Prince Charming’s close friends, who is a closeted gay Prince.

Clumsy

Clumsy is one of the Seven Dwarves in Snow White’s story who is the one she is closest to and who Prince Erudite wants to be close to.

Things To Note

Content Information

  • Dialog: some cursing, mostly noticeable in the singing of “Work Bitch.”
  • Violence: minor violence, like Rapunzel hitting people with her hair
  • Sexual Content: Mainly the occasional moment of innuendo
  • Miscellaneous: N/a

Marquise Theater Note

  • If you have to use the bathroom during intermission, there are bathrooms on the upper floors. No need to wait in line.

Collected Quote(s)

You did what you could with what you thought you had.
— OFG

Review

Note: “Once Upon A One More Time” is currently in previews

Our Rating: Mixed (If Affordable)

Notable Performances or Moments

Justin Guarini

That energy Guarini brings to the Dr. Pepper commercials, matched with the desire to spoof Prince Charming and paint him as an egotistical misogynist? Oh, Guarini eats it all up. It makes him a stand out, deserving of every applause, and I’d say he damn near steals the show, for he is the most consistent whether he is singing, dancing, or delivering his lines.

This story might be about the princesses, but Guarini makes damn sure Prince Charming is not left behind.

Highlights

Comedy A Step Above Camp

It’s a musical featuring the music of Britney Spears used to tell how princesses decided to assert autonomy over their lives. Naturally, you know the production couldn’t be serious, which makes it good. It pokes fun at everyone, from questioning Ariel trading her voice and life, for a boy, to Princess Pea being envious of everyone and mad that they all, especially Cinderella, complain about their lives. All of it is so deliciously self-aware, and then when you add in Cinderella’s stepmom? The sarcasm, the shade, the dry humor? Oh, it is just too good. Add in how Clumsy and Prince Erudite flirt and hint at their sexuality, and while “Once upon a, One More Time” may not be for everyone, it is a good time for those it was clearly made for.

Rapunzel and Snow White

Rapunzel and Snow White are scene stealers. Maybe not on the level of Prince Charming, but between Rapunzel’s voice and Snow White giving Prince Charming a run for his money to be the funniest character? At times you may see Cinderella as a Trojan Horse to allow situations to be set up for these two to shine.

How Some Songs Are Repurposed

From the evil stepmom getting a Jordan Peele-esque version of “Toxic” to the stepsisters using “Work Bitch” as a taunt for Cinderella, more often than not, when Britney Spears’ songs are modified to fit the tone or context of a situation, you appreciate and welcome it. Even the ones that are expected, like “Cinderella,” “Lucky,” and “Circus,” I can’t say if you’ll want to purchase or stream the soundtrack, but I do believe you’ll enjoy the songs during the show.

Criticism

The Ensemble Numbers

When a single singer is featured, or there is a duet, songs are executed well. The ensemble pieces, like the opening “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” are blemishes, and that first song may likely crater your expectations or reaffirm skeptics who question what this production may offer of value. Now, let me be clear and say this is regarding the singing during ensemble pieces – which sounds like generic Broadway fare. The dancing, on the other hand, is well done.

On The Fence

The Messaging

“Once Upon A One More Time” is a preaching to the choir type musical. It knows it is playing to liberal New Yorkers, likely there are gay people in attendance, and it makes it clear it wants to appeal to them. Whether it is the inclusion of Prince Erudite and Clumsy having a crush on one another and being the sole relationship to root for, making it clear, there is a lot of misogyny in how princesses are written and the world in general, or how men likely won’t change what has been convenient for them.

Honestly, the only time it pushes the idea it wants some level of complication beyond good feminist, bad feminist, and misogyny, is with the evil stepmom. She is given a moment of grace or allowed to be layered, as OFG acknowledges via the quote above. But, as for all others, there is a clear dichotomy where you can only exist on one side of feminism or the other, and the grey of it all, especially considering characters apparently can be banished and replaced – isn’t developed.

Wanting To Question Why Some Princesses Were More Developed Than Others

It’s easy to understand why Cinderella and Snow White were chosen to be one of the main princesses, but the rest? It’s a bit more difficult. Why is Belle second tier with Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood? Why no Princess and the Frog, since “The Frog Prince” is a Grimm Fairy Tale?

This isn’t to discount the jokes made due to Ariel being unable to speak or Princess Pea not having an ending involving wealth, but it’s hard to not raise an eyebrow and desire to ask questions.

Overall

Justin Guarini - 87%
Comedy A Step Above Camp - 83%
Rapunzel and Snow White - 84%
How Some Songs Are Repurposed - 83.5%
The Ensemble Numbers - 68%
The Messaging - 74%
Wanting To Question Why Some Princesses Were More Developed Than Others - 75%

79%

"Once Upon A One More Time," like many jukebox musicals, are made for a specific demographic and made to solely appeal to them – for better or worse.

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