Bad Cinderella It could have been the poison apple that killed the revisionist tales once and for all, but Britney Spears and Once againReplete with its hits and high spirits, tonight’s new Broadway musical opening came to deliver a happily ever after that is as unexpected as it is charming. Smart, fun, great-looking and all with a beat you can dance to, this homage to the Brothers Grimm, second-wave sisters, and not least the indomitable Mrs. Spears, is a treat.
Husband and wife, choreographer and choreographer Keone & Mari Madrid teamed up with bookwriter Jon Hartmere to create colorful art confection smart enough to play the occasional idiot, durable enough to whip up a few points along the way and he performed so successfully. It looks like a bevy of beauties, princesses, magicians, and mermaids has arrived in full bloom from some magical lands on Broadway. Upon closer examination, you’ll recognize some of them, including Justin Guarini from American Idol fame and more than a few theatrical productions here take the leap to stardom on Broadway.
But first, let’s talk about Britney. She is not featured here, nor is she referenced (although the production notes state that the songs were “fully authorized and licensed by post-Restoration Britney”), but her spirit and tenacity – not to mention the catalog of music that for many in the audience is likely to be A GIFT THEY DIDN’T KNOW THEY WANT – Sprinkled on this production are lots of “air-sculpted” glitter bombs and fireflies created by talented Brooklyn artist Daniel Wurtzel. again once Full of beautiful moments that arrive and float away like a soaring glass of wine or shape-shifting woodland birds.
The premise, really, isn’t something Broadway audiences haven’t seen: a collection of fairy tales — Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, The Princess with the Pea, The Little Mermaid, the Evil Stepmother and two Selfish. Girls, a fairy godmother, and of course any number of perfect princes—enough to fill any five Into productions the woodsAnd, the sisters spirit comes to do it for themselves six, who came across evil.
But a wish come true Once again is that he raises without apology or even a slight blush. Hartmeier and Madrid have taken the best of those performances and sprinkled their own personalities all over. Yes, we’ve seen these characters – not the original ones, however my revision The characters — before, wiser modern interpretations of their Grimm counterparts, more feminist, sexier, more open to LGBTQ+ sympathy than anything from Golden Age Disney. What six No to Tudor England Once again He does for long broken fairy tales.
But as a wise but very bad magician said — no, he’s not here — there’s one thing these shows don’t get: Betty Friedan. Hartmeyer’s greatest stroke of inspiration is his magical rendering female mysteryThis bible of ’60s feminism is in the mix. The good girls from the land of the fairies – Snow and Cin, Rap and Pea and the rest – meet weekly at the “Scroll Club”, a precursor to Oprah’s Book Club long before any of them have seen a book, they must not read one (they were kept on purpose uneducated and uninformed by the omniscient, tyrannical and terribly sexist narrator, played by Brother LymanAdam Godley).
kept unconcerned and relaxed–and this applies to the foolish Pale Prince as well–they are content enough to paraphrase their well-memorized tales, so often re-enacted, ready for even the slightest variation or error, convinced that it would be disastrous for them both–it could be done They’re banished to the terrifying land of Story End – and for a lovable little girl it gets things moving every day when she starts reading her favorite tales.
It’s Cinderella (the gorgeous Briga Helan, in her Broadway debut) who slowly begins to suspect that these ancient stories may not only be healthy for today’s young girls, or for herself. She began to feel a vague dissatisfaction, the kind of emptiness many American women of the 1950s might perceive. And just when she begins to ask herself the questions — does she really want to go limping night after night when the clock strikes 12, stalked by a violent stranger for whom he is his greatest love? – She is visited by the legendary long-exiled OFG – the original Fairy Godmother – who takes pleasure in granting a wish that does not involve cloth, and provides Sin with a book, yeah. And not just any book, but the uniquely feminist classic.
Before long, Sin’s intellectual resentment and resentment spread to the other women of the land of fairies, a turn decisive when the heroines discover, through an insolent act of rule-breaking, that their Prince Charming, Prince Faithful, and Prince Whatever are actually one and the same (“Oops!.. . I did it again,” Guarini sings when the dance is over).
Spoiling the plot beyond that would be unfair, though, as you’ll likely see most of the twists and turns coming, or at least anticipate the events of the overall story. There will be a happily ever after after that, of course, and it will be in keeping with 21st century sensibilities. But even revealing nothing else, including who sings Spears’ song – among them are “Toxic,” “Baby One More Time,” “Lucky,” “I Wanna Go,” “Crazy,” and “If I’m Dancing.” and “Passenger” and “Work Bitch”—that would spoil many a minor musical’s performance. Well, Stepmom gets “Toxic” and “Work Bitch,” but you probably already get that.
The adventure is played out on Anna Fleischle’s minimalist set that’s beautifully enhanced by Kenneth Posner’s pulsating lights, Sven Ortel’s Storybook video projections, and Loren Elstein’s clever hair and hair designs that blend classic fairy-tale style (and Disney icons, like Snow’s two-tone dress). blue, yellow. white) with a post-Spice Girl flash, and the Andrew Keister-designed sound any dance club would desire. The Madrids’ crisp choreography updates the stylized moves of classic Spears videos and boy band routines with an athletic vibe and unexpected grace.
Despite the appeal of these creatives, the project would fall flat without such a good cast. To name a few, Heelan’s Cinderella is the centerpiece, with the gorgeous Aisha Jackson as bestie Snow White, Guarini all princessy perfection, Godley making the most of a somewhat indeterminate narrator, and Jennifer Simard stealing scene after scene as the deliciously villainous wife the father.
Simard who committed the same welcome theft recently a company, is a terrific singer with impeccable comedic timing, she’s challenged in the laugh department by comedian Brock Dillman in a winningly wide comedic performance as the original Fairy Godmother, a role that pays homage to the spirits of classic (but invaluable) supportive ladies like Mary Wicks and Jane Withers is as much a pioneering feminist icon as it is freely quoted here. It’s OFG who, near the end, will deliver one of the show’s sweetest little surprises, a note of blessing in a production that has already won our hearts.
Title: Once again
place: Marquis Broadway Theatre
Director and choreographer: Keone and Mary Madrid
book: John Hartmeyer
music: Hits from Britney Spears
The main cast: Briga Heylan, Justin Guarini, Aisha Jackson, Jennifer Simard, Adam Godley, Brooke Dillmann, Amy Hellner Larsen, Tess Soltau, Gabrielle Pickford, Ashley Chew, Nathan Levy, Ryan Steele, Morgan Wheatley, Lauren Zakrin, Mila Weir
running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including intermission)
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