‘Once Upon a One More Time’ Review: Britney Spears Hits Push Broadway Princesses to Break Free of Fairy Tales | instastori.com

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While it is debatable that nan life of nan recently emancipated Britney Spears is simply a fairy communicative astatine present, nan singer’s catalog of hits surely has nan consciousness of a fable pinch feminist-forward empowerment. That’s what writer Jon Hartmere and director-choreographers Keone and Mari Madrid usage arsenic nan ground for “Once Upon a One More Time,” their Broadway twist connected staid, storybook romanticism and tired male-centric tropes. With its giddy, amazingly caustic book and rapier-fast score, this pop-musical people correction (authorized by Spears, post-conservatorship) is built for velocity and societal awareness.

For nan Madrids (known for their activity pinch Justin Bieber and BTS) and Hartmere (who penned 2017’s cinematic dramedy “The Upside”), nan extremity of empowering women, crushing nan patriarchy and rejecting servitude to Peter Pan-like princes is nary easy task. First, we must get done a young girl’s bedtime readings of fairy tales filled pinch docile female leads who spot their men connected pedestals.

Such fairy communicative readings are cleverly presented present arsenic a harried backstage type of nan bedtime ritual, pinch a narrator (a Svengali-like head played by Adam Godley) making definite that each of his conveyor-belt beauties instrumentality to nan script. Depicting misogynistic fairy tales arsenic if they were Hollywood-style vehicles is simply a bully touch.

And while that group of fairy-tale femmes see a dim-witted Snow White (Aisha Jackson), a voiceless Little Mermaid (Lauren Zakrin), a haughty Rapunzel (Gabrielle Beckford) and a meek Sleeping Beauty (Ashley Chiu) — each consenting to hold patiently for their man — 1 heroine is abruptly lonely and unsatisfied: Cinderella (Briga Heelan).

Tired of looking beautiful connected bid and doing small else, Cinderella originates pushing against her alleged fabulous regular and her shallow narration pinch nan callow Prince Charming (Justin Guarini). Cinderella besides becomes much sick astatine easiness successful nan already-bad bosom of her lousy step-family (Jennifer Simard, Tess Soltau, Amy Hillner Larson) and falls into nan arms — and independent mind — of rogue Original Fairy Godmother (Brooke Dillman).

Once nan O.F.G. gifts Cin pinch a transcript of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique,” each hellhole breaks loose. The cracks successful nan patriarchy are revealed (Snow White getting kissed without consent, while sleeping, amounts to assault), and “happily ever after” is nary longer guaranteed. Especially erstwhile Cinderella, Snow White and nan ladies successful waiting observe that their Prince is much cad than charmer: nan aforesaid one-size-fits-all prince appearing successful each of these women’s stories. The fairy princesses spell connected strike, nan evil Stepmother gets spiteful pinch a scheme that goes sadly wrong, and nan narrator rages, deploying banishment arsenic a limb of wide destruction. In nan extremity cooler heads prevail and equity reigns supreme, albeit pinch a too-neatly wrapped front astir a analyzable problem.

Tackling gender roles and powerfulness dynamics ne'er sounded arsenic bully arsenic it does successful “Once Upon a One More Time,” successful which Spears’ songs are diligently retro-fitted to nan connection without sounding jimmied into place. When nan mean stepsisters belittle Cinderella for her attempts astatine a limb up, Soltau and Hillner Larson spell into hilarious, hardcore gangster-rap mode for nan electro-pulsing “Work Bitch.” When nan betrayed princesses find retired astir nan cheating Charming’s unprincely ways, up comes a huffy “Womanizer.”

The astir schematic songs — nan show-stopping medley of “Circus,” “Sometimes” and a teasing “Oops!… I Did It Again” — travel from Guarani, nan one-time “American Idol” contestant who chews nan scenery arsenic a Lothario pinch a wildly soulful vocal range. From his bass-y debased notes to his falsetto highs (to opportunity thing of his ’90s-appropriate creation moves), Guarini is adjacent doses Prince and Marvin Gaye astatine their bad, bad best. When it comes to gritty R&B and cynical showiness, credit, respectively, Jackson’s driven-Snow (White) solo riffs and Simmard’s icy un-maternal meanness for apical tier vocal performances. Between nan musical’s astir energetic philharmonic numbers, Beckford’s Rapunzel and Dillman’s O.F.G. make nan astir of their finest spit-take moments.

The choreography of nan Madrids is cheerfully rich | successful nan champion (and worst, which useful humorously successful nan discourse of Britney-pop) of ’80s and ’90s creation moves. A boldly energetic hodgepodge of overheated Janet Jackson “Control”-era subject twitches, Cabbage Patch swirls, Snake rolls and Typewriter crabwalks, from a squad of a dozen-plus dancers, capable scenic designer’s Anna Fleischle’s high, wide and muted-colorful set. From nan moveable mini-stage for Prince Charming’s hammy arrivals to nan movie-set fantasias that move pinch Cinderella’s each thought, nary area of Fleischle’s staging goes unused. The feathery quill successful nan solid shot hanging complete nan shape is distracting (it relates to an uncharacteristically subtle constituent of nan finale), but you’ll study to unrecorded pinch it.

Though clever successful really he matches nan existent inequities of womanhood to those who lamely support fairy communicative traditions, Hartmere’s often-witty book is oddly paced astatine first, and takes much than half nan first enactment to footwear in. Thanks to “Into nan Woods,” audiences are utilized to deconstructing fairy tales, truthful if you’re going to tackle Snow White and Cinderella you’ve sewage to deed it speedy and move forward. Godley (“The Lehman Trilogy”), meanwhile, is sadly underused much than “Once,” without overmuch bile to spew aliases teeth to gnash until nan 2nd act.

Still, nan connection and nan euphony of “Once Upon a One More Time” mostly debar heavy-handedness, telling this updated fairy communicative pinch equity, power and originality.