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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Sony’s reboot of “Annie” and Disney’s twisted “Into the Woods” are scheduled for Dec. 19 and Dec. 25 release dates respectively, and the “Frozen” arc on “Once Upon a Time” has been a smash hit with the arrival of even more fairy tale characters searching for happiness.

That’s a lot of hope and true love for one season.

Despite their obvious separation from reality, musicals and fairy tales have always had a certain draw. Their audiences are specific, but powerful. Studios are capitalizing on these draws this holiday season especially. The tougher the real world gets, the more popular fairy tale and fantasy stories become.

Who wouldn’t love to be adopted by a wealthy politician and have a chance at a new life? Who wouldn’t love to go on a quest into the woods and know that within three midnights, he or she may have a wish come true?

But, as we have learned in “Once Upon a Time,” all magic comes with a price.

More and more often, the retellings of our favorite fairy tales cast heroes into villain’s roles, merging the lines between good and evil. Just like in our world, the lines are becoming blurred. Villains get happy endings, heroes fall into darkness and perish, and not all is what it seems.

People are eating it up.

We know there may not be a perfect ending out there for everyone, but there is a silver lining. However twisted, however reimagined, however down-to-earth and mundane our fairy tales are becoming, the lessons and feelings remain the same. These movies keep our hopes alive. They allow us to escape into the mind of an orphan, a baker, a princess or a queen.

For a few hours, life is as simple as a wish, a wand and a quest. The eternal story invites every child and every adult along for the ride, and that’s why they’re still here. The connections are too strong.

Just like Snow/Mary Margaret always says: "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing." 

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