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Reasons to see 'Once Upon a One More Time' on Broadway

The songs of the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears, meet fairy-tale princesses in this musical about rewriting happily-ever-afters that aren't actually so happy.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Oh baby, baby, it's Britney Spears on Broadway! Well, her music, that is. The hits of the trailblazing pop icon take center stage in Once Upon a One More Time, in which the Princess of Pop's songs fittingly tell the story of other princesses.

Fairy-tale characters like Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Prince Charming, and Cinderella's Stepmother live out the same stories over and over — but are they really happy with their happily ever afters? Cinderella realizes no, and she rallies her fellow princesses in a quest to get their stories rewritten.

It's an apt vehicle for the songs of Spears, who most recently made headlines by breaking free of her own conservatorship and getting a new lease on life. Her star power and cultural influence are stronger than ever, which makes now the perfect time to see Once Upon a One More Time — and maybe see it one more time. Here are the top reasons why you'll wanna go all the way to the Marquis Theatre.

You'll hear 24 reimagined Britney Spears songs.

Britney Spears pioneered the dance-pop genre, known for its infectiously catchy beats, playful sensuality, and fun. Once Upon a One More Time maintains the genre's energy and then some. Book writer Jon Hartmere changed some of the songs' lyrics to fit the fairy-tale plot, but the pulse-pounding sound remains. In fact, with a full Broadway orchestra, songs like "...Baby One More Time," "Piece of Me," and "Stronger" are more energetic than ever.

The lineup ranges from the top hits to deep cuts, and heartfelt ballads like "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" and "Sometimes" diversify the score amid the upbeat tunes.

Once Upon a One More Time keeps everyone dancin' till the world ends.

The musical's directors, Keone and Mari Madrid, are making their Broadway directorial debuts with Once Upon a One More Time, but they have long careers as choreographers and dance directors. Their moves elevate Once Upon a One More Time beyond a staged Britney playlist, as the dancing tells a story all on its own.

The Madrids' choreography borrows the vocabulary of '90s music videos, a perfect homage to Spears's heyday. ("Oops!...I Did It Again" even features a section of that song's original music video choreography by Tina Landon.) As a whole, the dancing ranges from small, stylized movements to explosive, larger-than-life tricks. Notably, the princesses almost exclusively dance small initially, gradually taking up more space — like the male characters’ choreography does from the start — as they find their own voices.

As a bonus, audience members get light-up wristbands upon arrival, and they'll light up at the end as you join the cast in a dance party.

Justin Guarini and Jennifer Simard make it hot when they put on a show.

They're the ones that entertain, and we're the ones that observe. The ensemble cast of Once Upon a One More Time cast has many standouts, but these two are the MVPs. American Idol's Justin Guarini is Prince Charming, here a swaggering yet empty-headed womanizer (cue the Spears song!) trying desperately to keep his princess and his pride. Among his many numbers are two tours-de-force — "Circus" and "Oops!...I Did It Again" — and while there's a flurry of dancing and action on stage all the while, all eyes are on Guarini in the center of the ring.

Simard, as Cinderella's Stepmother, plays the character with droll yet razor-sharp sass, as though she knows she commands attention without even having to try. Simard does. Her entrance in "Work Bitch" — in which dancers peel away to reveal her, regally posed, at the top of a catwalk-like platform — is instantly showstopping. In Act 2, she sings a dark, seductive, and spellbinding "Toxic." Hearing Simard belt a sky-high B-flat ending note is worth the price of admission alone. (My friend said he “didn't know it was humanly possible” to hit that high of a note; I concur.)

Get tickets to Once Upon a One More Time on Broadway.

You want a piece of all this fun? Grab your friends, get your tickets, and get ready to scream and shout. It's Britney, Broadway! It’s a wish come true, no fairy godmother needed.

Photo credit: Once Upon a One More Time on Broadway. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

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