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The Britney Spears Musical Will Premiere in DC on November 30—and It Sounds Absolutely Bananas

Once Upon a One More Time will get its pre-Broadway run at Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Photograph via Wikimedia Commons.

She’s so lucky: DC will be the star city that hosts the premiere of Britney Spears musical Once Upon a One More Time. Shakespeare Theatre Company announced the news that it will produce the show’s pre-Broadway run starting in November as a family-friendly holiday offering.

The show marries Spears hits (including “Toxic,” “Stronger,” and “Oops! I Did It Again”) with traditional fairytale characters, and was created by Jon Hartmere, who co-wrote the off-Broadway rock musical Bare. The story follows princesses like Cinderella and Snow White on their journey, basically, to wokeness. The princesses—inspired by reading The Feminine Mystique in a book club (I am not making this up)—take charge of their own lives to the sound of Spears’s songs. (Indeed, the phrase “smashing the glass slipper” is part of the show description.)

The production was originally slated to premiere in Chicago in April 2020 before the pandemic canceled it. Now it’s set to run at Penn Quarter’s STC—and it’s the first time in the theater’s history that it will present a Broadway-bound commercial musical. The show will be choreographed and directed by the wife-and-husband duo Mari and Keone Madrid, whose previous credits include choreographing for BTS and Justin Bieber.

It’ll almost certainly be a big-seller, especially considering the resurging popularity of the pop star following the high-profile case of her conservatorship, which prompted the #FreeBritney movement and the recent documentary Framing Britney Spears. The press release from STC quotes Spears, too: “‘I’m so excited to have a musical with my songs – especially one that takes place in such a magical world filled with characters that I grew up on, who I love and adore.’ As she said in a  previous statement, ‘This is a dream come true for me!'”

Shakespeare Theatre Company will premiere Once Upon a One More Time at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St., NW) from November 30 through January 2.

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Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.