Monday, May 22, 2023

Weekly Margin 2023, W21: Once Upon a One More Time

What: A new jukebox musical utilizing the song catalog of Britney Spears to deconstruct Cinderella and other fairy tales.
And? Let me preface this by saying: I am the wrong audience for this show. This show for sure has an audience, but it's not me. I was hoping the show would be so ridiculously over the top it would be fun, like & Juliet or Head Over Heels. I think if I knew Britney Spears's full song catalog better (or if the sound design was sharper so I could understand the lyrics to the songs I didn't know), I might have had a better time. Instead I was annoyed at how thin the whole thing was. The script feels plagiarized from a tumblr thread from a decade ago, "discovering" that fairy tales include a lot of now-toxic tropes. I read a review that accused & Juliet's feminism as being half-baked. One More Time is feminism tartare. I saw a very early preview so I can also hope they'll get their vocals together. While the Act Two opener, "Crazy," is flipping fantastic (vocally, choreographically), the Act One opener, "Baby One More Time," sounds truly messy. 

I am also once again tired to report that while there are two actors in the cast who are in bigger bodies, one of them (Goldilocks) mostly talks about porridge, and the other (Belinda, as played by the adorable and underused Ryann Redmond) is one of the "ugly" stepsisters. Come the fuck on. Give us a fat princess!

Pros: I got two of them, and their names are Jennifer Simard and Justin Guarini. Simard steals every one of her scenes, and Guarini steals the entire score. He dominates the stage and you cannot take your eyes off him.

(D.C. production) Aisha Jackson, Morgan Weed, Briga Heelan, Ashley Chiu,
Wonu Ogunfowora, and Lauren Zakrin as Snow White, Princess and the Pea,
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Little Mermaid. Photo by
Matthew Murphy.

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