Once Upon a One More Time, Broadway's latest musical to put a feminist spin on classic female characters, has confirmed that the musical is fully authorized and licensed by Britney Spears. The jukebox musical, which uses songs from the Princess of Pop, began previews May 13 in the Marquis Theatre. Playbill confirmed the news, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Producers James L. Nederlander and Hunter Arnold have also clarified the timeline of the musical's authorization and licensing, confirming that the "license agreement with Britney Spears was negotiated, agreed to, and signed by Britney Spears in 2022, post-conservatorship." Nederlander and Arnold have also stated that "Once Upon a One More Time was created in collaboration with Britney Spears based on an idea she suggested." Whether or not Spears' agreement was in motion for the musical's 2021 pre-Broadway try-out at Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company remains unclear.
In 2008, Spears was involuntarily placed into a conservatorship with her father James Spears and attorney Andrew M. Wallet serving as conservators. While the conservatorship has long been controversial, it became the center of public discussion as the #FreeBritney movement began in 2020. The following June, Spears began publicly pursuing termination of the conservatorship, which was formally terminated in November of 2021. Once Upon a One More Time began its world premiere at Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Company November 30, 2021 where it played into 2022.
The musical, set to open June 22, follows classic fairytale heroines after the fairy godmother, goes rogue and plops copies of The Feminine Mystique in their laps. They're inspired to try and change their stories—all set to a soundtrack of songs made famous by the Princess of Pop like "Oops, I Did It Again," "Toxic," and "Circus." Once Upon a One More Time features a book penned by Jon Hartmere (bare).
Leading the Broadway cast are Briga Heelan (Great News) as Cinderella, Justin Guarini (American Idol, Wicked) as Prince Charming, Jennifer Simard (Company, Mean Girls) as the Stepmother, Adam Godley (The Lehman Trilogy) as the Narrator, Brooke Dillman (The Office) as The O.F.G. (Original Fairy Godmother), Aisha Jackson (Frozen, Paradise Square) as Snow White, Ryann Redmond (Frozen) as Stepsister Belinda, Tess Soltau (Wicked) as Stepsister Betany, and Mila Weir and Isabella Ye sharing the role of Little Girl.
Joining them are Ashley Chiu (KPOP) as Sleeping Beauty, Gabrielle Beckford (The Prom) as Rapunzel, Nathan Levy (Dear Evan Hansen) as Clumsy, Ryan Steele (Newsies) as Prince Erudite, Joshua Daniel Johnson (Sneakerella) as Prince Brawny, Kevin Trinio Perdido (Almost Famous) as Prince Mischievous, Mikey Ruiz (Beyond Babel) as Prince Gregarious, Josh Tolle (Kinky Boots) as Prince Suave, Stephen Scott Wormley (The Lion King) as Prince Affable, Morgan Whitley (American Psycho) as Princess Pea, Lauren Zakrin (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) as Little Mermaid, Liv Battista as Belle, Pauline Casiño as Esmeralda, Selene Haro (Beyond Babel) as Gretel, Amy Hillner Larsen (The Marvelous Wonderettes) as Goldilocks, and Justice Moore (Hamilton) as Red.
Keone and Mari Madrid are directing and choreographing, leading a creative team that also includes creative consultant David Leveaux, scenic designer Anna Fleischle, costume designer Loren Elstein, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, sound designer Andrew Keister, projection designer Sven Ortel, and wig designer Nikiya Mathis. Casting is by Hardt Casting.