Dance on Broadway

Britney Spears' Musical Replaces Michael Jackson's Show in Chicago

Britney Spears in concert in Las Vegas. Photo by Kristopher Harris, via Wikimedia Commons

Just a few weeks ago, we were musing about which major pop stars might get a jukebox musical. As our team batted ideas back and forth, I hastily shared this thought over email:

Will there someday be a (gasp) Britney Spears musical?

A Britney show seemed so inevitable that we didn't even mention it in our story. And it seems the Broadway gods had the very same thought: Once Upon a One More Time, a brand-new musical featuring hits by Spears, is officially happening. Oh baby, baby.

The production starts its pre-Broadway run Nov. 13 in Chicago. It replaces a high-profile, previously announced show: The Michael Jackson–themed Don't Stop Till You Get Enough canceled its Chicago run in mid-February. (The team says it is now aiming for a summer 2020 opening on Broadway.)

The artist's estate cited "scheduling difficulties" related to a labor dispute. However, the cancelation was announced shortly before the release of HBO's new documentary Leaving Neverland, which centers on abuse allegations against Jackson. In it, choreographer Wade Robson is one of two men who give detailed accounts that Jackson sexually abused them as a child. Although many MJ fans and colleagues—including former choreographer Vince Paterson—have flocked to the King of Pop's defense, the current public outcry against Jackson makes any major projects unlikely.

All of this leaves an opening at Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre for Spears' show. According to Broadway in Chicago, Once Upon a One More Time will center around a group of fairy tale princesses engaged in a book club that only reads Grimm's Fairy Tales. That is, until one day when Cinderella wishes for fresh reading material. That's when "a rogue fairy godmother drops The Feminine Mystique in her corseted lap." In this journey from pretty princess to something more, expect to hear signature Britney hits like "Stronger," "Lucky," "Toxic," and, of course, "Oops!... I Did It Again."

Here's another reason to get pumped: Keone and Mari Madrid are on board to choreograph. The charming duo, not to mention super-cute married couple, have had major success with their playful blend of contemporary and hip hop. After raking in 1.4 billion views for starring in Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" video, we're sure they can make magic onstage with Britney Spears' music.

One thing we're less sure of: how poor Cinderella will turn out. Ah, to be not a girl, not yet a woman...

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