Theater Review: ‘Once Upon a One More Time’ with Britney Spears songs will drive you crazy

June 22, 2023  -NEW YORK (AP) — You’re handed an LED wristband as you enter “Once Upon a One More Time,” a musical on Broadway stuffed with Britney Spears songs. But the gift is strangely inert for the whole show, only coming to life and gleaming at the curtain call. It’s not a wristband — it’s a metaphor. It glows in the end because you are free. Free of this bombastic, patronizing, clumsy, lazy show.

“Once Upon a One More Time,” which opened Thursday at the Marquis Theatre, is pure summer dumb — it’s got smoke machines working overtime, weird dance breaks, tons of glitter and every song ends with a manufactured IMAX-level sonic boom. One of the main characters actually swings on a chandelier.

Everything about it seems recycled: A fractured fairy tale that is a tired concept by now — no less a giant than Andrew Lloyd Webber failed with it with “Bad Cinderella” this spring. It’s also a safe feminist story about women writing their own story led by a creative team led mostly by men, an enduring problem on Broadway but very awkward for a story about princesses seizing their narrative.

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