Years ago, I used to do a segment about theme park exclusive characters called Meet & Greet, it was a bit fun even if I didn’t cover that many characters from the Parks. You consider this a return of that somewhat as I’m looking at a character from a Disney Cruise Line Musical titled Twice Charmed. This musical has a similar plot to that of Cinderella III: A Twist In Time and that movie and this show share the same songwriting team but it has been stated the similarities are merely coincidental.
A Twist in Time was produced around the same time as Twice Charmed, a Cinderella-inspired stage musical hosted on the Disney Cruise Lines, Disney insists that the film is not a spin-off of the production, despite sharing songwriting team Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary. As such, A Twist in Time does not intentionally borrow elements or characters from the stage production, with Nissen explaining that any similarities between the two are merely coincidental.
So, that is a bit interesting, and after A Twist in Time was released, elements from the movie were added to the musical so that they would more closely mirror one another. This includes putting in a song Jaq and Gus sang to the Prince in the third film.
And I will admit when I first saw A Twist in Time, I had a dumb hatred of the movie because of how similar it was to Twice Charmed. I had the fortune of seeing this show years ago on my first Disney Crusie and I truly enjoyed the show. I have gone back and watched it on YouTube over the years and I do believe that it still holds up. Alas, this is not one the Disney Parks YouTube Channel uploaded during the pandemic as they only uploaded shows that were just adaptions being the Tangled and Frozen musicals that you can see on the ships. I’ve watched both and love them as they are my two favorite Disney movies but there is something truly special about taking a classic story everyone knows and putting a new spin on it, that is part of why I love the Twisted Tale series of books from Disney that I’ve brought up before as they do just that and I will keep suggesting the Cinderella one as it is one of my favorites in that series.
Something this book, A Twist In Time, and this stage musical all share is Lady Tremaine finding a way of messing with the glass slippers. They all have different ways of her going about doing this, it’s been months since I’ve listened to So This is Love so I don’t exactly remember how she pulls it off in that book but both A Twist in Time and Twice Charmed involve magic. A Twist in Time has Lady Tremaine grabbing hold of the Fairy Godmother’s wand.
Twice Charmed also has magic being used on the side of evil and that is because Lady Tremaine and her daughters have a Wicked Fairy Godfather and that is who we are here to discuss. Now as this is a stage musical and not a movie or TV show, I will be skipping the Actor portion as he has been played by many actors. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
First Appearance/Villain Song
It’s Never Too Late
Yep, his first appearance in the musical is his villain number and it spells out the type of villain he is, he has a bit of a gambling motif similar to that of Oogie Boogie or Dr. Facilier in that if you make a deal with him, you have to know what you are getting into.
And while Lady Tremaine is smarter than Naveen and can see how what Franco presents could backfire, her desire for revenge against Cinderella overrides the part of her brain that knows this could go awry. She feels wronged by Cinderella and she is not going to pass up a chance to put Cinderella back in her place as a servant girl.
There are two reprises to this song but I’ve not been able to find them uploaded to YouTube separately.
I touched upon this already but he has a gambling motif and he is meant to be the opposite of the Fairy Godmother, where she helped Cinderella in her time of need with no strings attached, Franco does come to the Tremaine’s after they have lost everything but he warns the three ladies that if Cinderella finds a way of getting the Prince to fall in love with her again, they will be cursed for all eternity. So again, like classic Disney villains that have magic on their side such as Ursula where the protagonist has to know things can go awry when making a deal with them.
I do like the idea of this being used on a Disney Villain as it presents a new angle to the idea of making the deal with the devil that we so often Disney protagonists make. When you see a hero make this type of deal, you worry things will end badly for them but here when you see a villain make this type of deal, you are just waiting for them to fail.
He doesn’t have much of one as he is more of a side player, yes he wants to help the Tremaine’s and that is an objective that can make you hate him but it feeds into their goal of ruining Cinderella’s life. This again shows evil he is as he is willing to hurt Cinderella just because it helps the Tremaine family but as we will see in a bit, he’s truly more of a neutral evil character as he doesn’t care who wins.
Most Evil Deed
During the musical number, In A Moment Franco shrinks Cinderella down to the size of a mouse so that the Prince won’t be able to recognize her and she won’t be able to get to the castle.
This is another area where you see him working for the person that he is currently serving and will do whatever they want while letting them think they are in control but you get the sense that he has caught on to how to play Lady Tremaine throughout their interactions and is fine with letting her have control until it’s time to pull the rug out from underneath her.
He wins, Cinderella is able to convince the Prince of who she is and they fall back in love after this lovely song.
Lady Tremaine is none too happy about this and calls in Franco to do his magic to ensure the Prince falls in love with one of her daughters, some productions have it be Anastasia because Lady Tremaine tells Drizella that she loves Anastasia more than Drizella. Franco is happy to play along and do his magic as he curses the Tremaine’s to become his servants.
This again is rather similar to what happens at the end of A Twist In Time.
Again, this could seem suspicious on the surface but I just go with it. It serves as a good comeuppance for Lady Tremaine to be knocked down a few pegs after how she treated Cinderella. Seeing something such as this is a sense of catharsis after all the cruel things she did. And it also speaks to how Lady Tremaine’s want for revenge got the better of her. And that’s why I say Franco won and honestly, he would have won either way as the deal was a no lose situation for him. I think I should elaborate on this, if Lady Tremaine and her daughters win, what he promised has been fulfilled but with this outcome, he gets labor and he never lied to them, he told them if Cinderella and the Prince got back together, they’d be cursed. He didn’t have to use any loopholes to get this outcome either.
Is Franco DiFortunato A Good Villain?
Franco has the feelings and vibes of a Disney Renaissance villain and I know that may seem like high praise for a villain from a Disney Cruise musical, which it is but I stand by it. I wouldn’t go so far as to rank Franco as high as those villains having said that but he does the fun to him that those classic villains had and that is what makes his presence so great.
Well when this series picks back up, we will be looking at the first of three Once Upon A Time villains, join me next time as I look at their first version of…