‘American Idol’ Star’s Broadway Show Shuts Down Weeks After Debut: ‘Broken Heart’

Broadway show closed

Heavy Broadway show closed

Producers of the Broadway show “Once Upon a One More Time,” featuring the music of pop icon Britney Spears, announced just eight weeks after its premiere that they’re shutting down the show. “American Idol” star Justin Guarini, who stars as Prince Charming, has been a driving force behind the musical over the past six years and shared the news “with a broken heart” via an Instagram video on August 21, 2023.

Here’s what you need to know:

Britney Spears’ Broadway Show to Close After 123 Performances

Before “Once Upon a One More Time” debuted at the Marquee Theatre on June 22, producers James Nederlander and Hunter Arnold told Variety that Spears had the original idea for the show years ago and that it was her first major project since the end of her conservatorship in 2021. Ahead of its premiere, Spears endorsed the show in an Instagram post, sharing that it was “so funny, smart and brilliant.”

However, after an initial run in Washington D.C. — where it received poor reviews but had strong ticket sales, according to the New York Times — and six weeks of Broadway previews, the show received mixed reviews and failed to sell enough tickets to keep surviving. The Times reported that during the week that ended August 13, the theater was only 47 percent full, and grossed just $512,008 — which wasn’t enough to keep it open.

Guarini, who returned to “American Idol” as a guest mentor this spring, was involved in the development of the show and was elated after its first night of previews on Broadway.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to spend every moment with my cast mates on stage as we finally delivered the first of many performances to come,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’ve been with this project for 6 years…and it’s been worth every second of the wait to get here.”

But on August 21, Guarini posted a video of himself sitting in a park to deliver the news of the show’s cancelation, which will close after 123 performances, per Variety. 

After thanking the cast, crew, and staff at the Marquee, he said, “Sometimes, though, no matter how great the show and the team behind it, things don’t go as we all would have wanted it to go and it’s with a broken heart that I share that our final performance will be on September 3rd. And after that, the show closes.”

Meanwhile Spears, whose husband of a year, Sam Asghari, filed for divorce on August 17, per People, has not commented on the show’s closure.

Justin Guarini Hints at ‘Exciting’ Future Plans

In his video announcing the closing of “Once Upon a One More Time,” Guarini called his involvement in the musical “the best thing I’ve ever done in my career.”

As for what he’ll do next, Guarini hinted that he already has plans.

“I have two weeks of performances to celebrate this incredible show,” he said. “After that, well, I have some very exciting news to share with you soon, so make sure you stay tuned.”

It’s possible that Guarini plans to hit the road with a touring production of the show.

In a statement about the Broadway closing,  given that Nederlander and Arnold said, “As plans take shape for the show’s future life around the globe, we’re excited to share more news soon!”

Guarini also stars in commercials as Diet Dr. Pepper’s miniature 80s rock star mascot, Lil’ Sweet. In 2022, AdWeek said his portrayal of the quirky rocker had transformed Lil’ Sweet “from an eccentric ad character to a bona fide pop culture moment, joining a pantheon of enduring modern-day brand mascots” that are “instantly recognizable.”

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