Shakespeare Theatre Company to host Britney Spears musical

Broadway producers and Washington DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company are teaming up to host the world premiere of Britney Spears Once Upon a One More Time, a musical wrought from the pop star’s songbook, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

This Tony award-winning theater is hosting the “pre-Broadway tryout of a commercial musical inspired by a pop phenom” which, the Post notes, is “the first such event in the company’s 35-year history”.

Once Upon a One More Time is scheduled to debut on 30 November at the company’s 774-seat flagship theater, Sidney Harman Hall, with its run concluding on 2 January 2022. It’s thought that the musical will then play at a Nederlander-Organization theater on Broadway. Hollywood producers, meanwhile, have purchased the movie rights to this Spears song-centered musical, Deadline reported in April 2019.

The musical includes Spears hits such as Oops! … I Did It Again, Lucky, and Toxic. The narrative is that of a book club with fairytale members, who find themselves changed after reading a feminist text, the Post explained.

“This is something so magical – it’s Shakespeare and Spears!” Shakespeare Theatre Company’s artistic director, Simon Godwin, reportedly commented. Godwin told the Post that Susan Bristow, a Nederlander producer, had approached him several months ago about the musical. “She came to us and said, ‘Can I share this idea with you?’ I was delighted that people were identifying us as a space that they want to work with. I said, ‘Yes, I am all in.’”

The Nederlander Organization president, James L Nederlander, said in an email to the Post: “Shakespeare Theatre Company was always a place we were interested in for Once Upon a One More Time. We love the idea of debuting this musical – filled with beloved fairytale characters – at a theater dedicated to the exploration of classic stories reframed for modern audiences.” Nederlander also said that he was “absolutely looking to bring it to Broadway in an upcoming season”.

Godwin remarked that he was drawn to the musical’s “intellectual rigor”.

“Some folks might think it is a jukebox musical, but it is not,” Godwin commented, in reference to a type of production that uses pop artists’ songs and creates a narrative arc to tie them together, such as the Abba song-centered Mamma Mia!

“This is taking classical stories and refashioning them. I felt there was a promise of excellence.”

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