Once Upon Time Musical Spoilers

Once Upon a Time Gets Musical: Which Star Was Terrified? Who Belts Just One Line? And Why Is Everyone Singing?!

Whistle while you work….

When you wish upon a star….

Let it go-o-o-o-o-….

Many a Disney fairy tale has been punctuated by memorable tunes, but ABC’s Once Upon a Time has never added music to its mix. That is, not until next Sunday, May 7, when Season 6’s antepenultimate hour, “The Song in Your Heart,” is cued up.

FROM JAZZED TO… JAZZ HANDS? | Since Day 1, nary a Once fan event has gone by where the cast and or creators have not been asked about the possibility of a musical episode. “Whenever they ask us at conventions, I’m always like, ‘Yeah. Let’s do it!’ — and I rile the crowd up even more because I think it’s a f–king brilliant idea,” Rebecca Mader, who plays Zelena, told TVLine during filming of the landmark hour. “So when I found out they were actually doing it I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I knew that the fans were going to go nuts.”

Yet though the idea has oft been bandied about, having it become reality triggered a variety of reactions from the cast who would be asked to croon on camera.

“I said that in theory I was keen,” Ginnifer Goodwin shares, “but the truth is when it became a reality I grew terrified, and asked if I could be a doo-wop girl in the background. Jazz hands and all!” Lana Parrilla meanwhile said that on a scale of 1 to 10, her anxiety level started out at “maybe a 7 — mostly because I haven’t done a musical since I was 19 years old. I love singing in the shower and in the car, and with Rebecca — we’re always singing together [on set] — but I didn’t know what kind of number I would have. I didn’t know who was singing, if it was Regina or the Queen, and that really made a big difference.” (More on that in a bit.)

Heading for a wedding: TVLine’s Matt Webb Mitovich on set with Morrison and O’Donoghue

On the far calmer end of the spectrum were Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue — which is, well, good, seeing as Emma and Hook’s wedding is a focal point of the musical hour! “Colin and I were predisposed,” Morrison says, “because we both came from musical backgrounds, so to us it just sounded like it would be really fun. We’re happy that it finally worked out.”

TV son Jared Gilmore meanwhile knew precisely the extent of the vocal skills he himself would bring to the table. “I have one singing line in the episode,” he reports. “At first I was kind of like, ‘OK. I don’t have a number,’ but then I was like, ‘Oh wait. It’s probably for the best, because I can’t exactly sing.’ I’d probably just embarrass myself. And my family!”

“I, for one, never thought we would do a musical episode,” Josh Dallas shares. “I know there was talk about it, and people would ask, but I just never thought we would ever do one.” But at the end of the day, he says, “Once Upon a Time absolutely lends itself to a musical format.”

MAKING BEAUTIFUL MUSIC TOGETHER | Although at least one cast member assumed that if this day came, Once Upon a Time would recycle famous Disney tunes, that was never the plan. Instead, series creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis last summer sat down with songwriters (and Once fans) Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner to hash out the grand plan, which would lead to seven original tunes being penned. “After we let the cast know [about the musical episode],” says Horowitz, “they got together with the composers, to tailor all the songs to each actor and their character specifically.”

As a result, “They ended up presenting us with these gorgeous, original and really catchy pieces,” Goodwin raves. “I really can’t see them not being hits.” Morrison, who has a solo, concurs, saying, “They wrote the songs for our voices, because they knew our ranges and where we were comfortable.” As O’Donoghue puts it, “Just as the show takes these characters that everybody knows and makes them fresh and new, in a sense that’s what’s happened [with the music].”

Now, for the million-dollar question asked of every TV series that braves a musical episode: Why is everyone suddenly singing?

Simply said: We learn in flashbacks that Snow White, when pregnant with Emma, inadvertently cast a spell that makes highly emotional people only able to express themselves through song. That allows for musical numbers both in the Enchanted Forest of yesteryear as well in present-day Storybrooke, when the spell resurfaces.

NAME THAT TUNE | As for what you will hear once May 7 rolls around, there are seven songs in total. In addition to Emma’s solo (about “a song that has been living in her heart all along”), viewers can expect a highly entertaining “sing-off” between the Charmings and the Evil Queen (“Our weapons are our song,” Dallas previews), as well as what Mader describes as “a full-on Broadway number” for Zelena the Wicked Witch. “It’s almost like Once Upon a Time‘s reimagined version of [Wicked‘s] ‘Defying Gravity.'”

During TVLine’s set visit, the choreographers revealed that a number set aboard the Jolly Roger in a tavern features some very fun and fancy footwork, while the Evil Queen has a high-energy, slide-on-her-knees performance of a tune whose message is “down with love, down with hope,” Parrilla explains. “The Queen has moves,” she adds with a wink. “She’s a rock star!”

The song list also includes a duet that swells into a group performance, affording all of the characters on hand a chance for a whirl, a twirl or, in Gilmore’s case, a brief warble (his aforementioned “one line” elicited the sweetest of reactions from the crew, take after take after take after take). The rousing, climactic number “is so perfect for the show,” O’Donoghue observes.

(As for Rumple and Belle, due to spoilery happenings in the April 30 episode, titled “The Black Fairy,” they are “laying low” during the musical episode, says Kitsis, though Rumple will be seen.)

‘IT FELT LIKE THE PILOT AGAIN’ | The cast’s abundant enthusiasm did not go unnoticed when the show bosses arrived on set during production of the musical hour.

“It was really re-energizing,” Kitsis says of the endeavor’s infectious effect on both cast and crew — no small feat this late into the season, and even more impressive this deep into the show’s run. “It was Episode 130 and you really felt like it was the pilot again,” Kitsis says. “Everyone was nervous and giddy and excited….

“It was one of those things we were terrified of as showrunners, but once we saw how excited everyone was to do it, it made us really glad that we attempted to pull it off.”

Will the Once audience in turn respond with a standing O? “They’re going to love it,” Parrilla predicts. “To see these characters that they’ve been watching over the years sing is refreshing. It’s a totally different form of expression. And it makes sense, which I think is critical — that it really works with our storytelling.”

COMING SOON: Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue open up about Emma and Hook’s big day: “It’s all happiness” — except for one looming threat.

Want more scoop on Arrow, or for any other show? Email InsideLine@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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34 Comments
  1. Val says:

    I cant wait for the episode and the wedding of my favourite couple Emma and Hook. And everyone belting out songs lol

  2. Paige says:

    I have my reservations, but the cast seems really excited so I’m really excited!

  3. Lysh says:

    RIP Swanovitch. Great onset photo though!
    At first I was cringing about this, but the more I read about it, the more excited I am. Sounds potentially better than the Flash musical, too. Great scoop!

  4. CS True Love says:

    All I am waiting for is a Captain Swan duet and Hook pirate solo!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Brittany says:

    This is a terrible idea. It’s just not good. I know they are talented but this is a disaster waiting to happen. Musical episodes are tricky. You could end up with nonsensical crap like the Grey’s anatomy musical episode, or you could end up with the infamous once more with feeling. Once has proven time and time again that it just can’t hit the mark. This seems like a desperate attempt to come up with something to do since they’ve blown through almost all of their material that should have lasted forever. They knocked out THREE potential villains in one 11 episode arc for crying out loud. And randomly stuck Merida in to an already crowded arc. It’s ridiculous!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yet again someone who doesn’t like Once comes on just to complain about it. Don’t watch it. It seems like you are wasting your time and ours.

      • Rikki says:

        Could I love this comment? I completely agree! People who wanna talk bad about the show probably don’t even watch it and can get off somewhere!

    • Brennan says:

      Out of all the shows on television, Once is the only one where a musical episode feels completely organic. It’s based on fairy tales, more specifically their Disney counter parts. A musical episode was bound to happen. Grey’s Anatomy couldn’t do it because that was a medical soap opera. Buffy did it because it was a campy fantasy show. Once would’ve been stupid not to attempt it.

    • Shar says:

      You must be new here. Hi, I’m Shar. This is the show Once Upon A Time. It’s based on a lot of Disney movies. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that company? They make musical cartoons based on fairy tales? Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to make that connection. It’s okay.

  6. ninergrl6 says:

    I’m ridiculously excited about this ep. I love musicals, OUAT, and CaptainSwan, so to have them all combined like this, I just might explode. It sounds like the songs are going to be fun, and it’s great to know how excited the actors and show runners are about the whole endeavor. THanks for sharing this! I can’t wait!

  7. Beth Newcomb says:

    I am very excited!!!it seems very organic and natural that there be a musical episode. I think it’s going to be awesome!!! 🤗🤗

  8. AC says:

    It is funny because I’m really not into musicals but this freaking episode has me so excited. Yes part of my excitement has to do with the Wedding because I really love that pairing. I also look forward to hearing the cast sing. Seriously this show with a musical makes sense.

    In conclusion I wish the episode was on today. I love the show flawed and all!

  9. TEAMEMMASWANDESERVESHAPPINESS says:

    I’m SUPER EXCITED for this episode. Can’t wait to see the CaptainSwan Wedding and the CaptainSwan Love duet which will hopefully remind me of all the other Disney love duets.

  10. datdudemurphy says:

    I kinda feel that only “Once More, With Feeling” and “My Musical” have hit their marks. Both episodes managed to find songs that were catchy, without making the episode feel terribly out of place.
    Others have just been weird.

    If there is any show where they can make it feel like a natural part of the story, OUAT would be that show.

    I’ll be cautiously optimistic about this one.

  11. diana garcia says:

    Plz no musicial i love this show plz dont ruin it

  12. not again, musical in a normal tv show is a no go and will kill shows.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I know, Grey’s Anatomy has only last six seasons after its own musical episode :( And Buffy too got cancelled right away, just 37 episodes later.

  13. 221bsam says:

    SO not a hater of Once, I love it but… I’m not gonnna lie, I was hoping for something a bit cleverer then that, Once has many correlations with Buffy, this seemed like a chance to go their own way but instead, they’ve done what Buffy did, a demon came to the town & made them all sing, this time a spell comes to town & makes them all sing…
    Excited for the episode but part of me was thinking of a more complex twist in the tale hmm…
    Also; so Hook met Snow & Charming whilst she was pregnant with his future wife, that’s a little messed up… the rumour is that the spell happens again because Emma is pregnant, they wouldn’t do that would they?
    I was expecting the Black Fairy to want Emma isolated & she sends them back to the Enchanted Forest & they don’t remember Emma, hence the singing because, why wouldn’t you there?
    Colin singing a pirate shanty will be ace & a Defying Gravity esque number, I am all over that, excited but a smidge disappointed.
    Any word yet Matt whether we’ll be able to purchase the songs please?

  14. 221bsam says:

    I love musicals & Once More With Feeling never disappoints on re-watch & I listen to it often. I hope this is good, the Greys Anatomy one put me off the show for life! eugh! It was just-awful! I didn’t even finish the episode. I know, I know Greys lives on but it put me right off.

    • Casey says:

      I agree with you – I’m not usually a huge fan of musicals (especially on TV shows) BUT Once More with Feeling is one of my favorite episodes ever, so there’s always an exception. The Grey’s musical was just about the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV. Hoping they can pull it off and I’m cautiously optimistic – if any show can do it, it will definitely be the one about Disney fairy tale characters. Either way I’m excited for a CaptainSwan wedding!

      • SamofSherwood says:

        Even though I LOVE CaptainSwan & always have, I’m more excited for the musical, the wedding is just gravy for me. I don’t do mushy romance.

  15. I see another shar already commented on this thread let me make it clear that we are not on in the same. All I can say is I think this musical episode is going to be cringeworthy and I think it’s an insult to the fans who have been asking for a musical episode since day one that the musical will be centred around the CS wedding, A&E couldn’t have kicked the long-term fans of this show in the face any better if they had purposely planned to.

  16. Rikki says:

    I have been waiting for this fairy tale wedding for a while! I love Emma and hook and can’t wait until next Sunday! :)

  17. Treva Harper says:

    I hate musicals, and I hate when they make TV episodes that are musicals. I hope Hollywood stops doing it!

  18. 221bsam says:

    Squee! ok, I still have my reservations but, I’m excited…