If/ Then will be dark from January 27 – February 1, while headliner Idina Menzel prepares to sing the national anthem at the upcoming Super Bowl. Even though I’m not in the area, I do hope it gets reconsidered and they take gamble on finding an alternate instead of taking a break as we’ll never know what kind of breakthrough that might just happen in that one week.
There are star-billed shows that successfully transitioned to their replacements and I believe this could have been an opportunity for them to test and see if bringing in a alternate would give new lease on the show, whether being able to extend the run, a theatre transfer, or a tour. Plus, it would have minimized losses during that week.
Successful ones like Cabaret and Hedwig and the Angry Inch relied more on A-listers but not only did it generate more interest, it also gained more following, as well, brought back a number of repeat audience.
But while it would be great to have an A-list name on the show’s marquee, Broadway heavy hitters such as Heather Headley, Sutton Foster, or Laura Benanti, to name a few, have a huge following and, I believe, can successfully turn it around for that week. Recognizable with their stage/ screen/ television cross-overs, they look like they share the same audience demographic the show is aimed at.
I understand that the above may be too late now, as the 27th is in a few days from now so it could have also been an opportunity for stand-by, Jackie Burns, or any of the understudies, to step into the spotlight and keep the show going for that week.
Now I’m pretty sure options have been looked into and what I wrote had been already considered, but there is a large pool of talent within the Broadway community that are deserving in filling in Ms. Menzel’s shoes, and again, who knows what bringing an alternate might do to the show. It’s closing in a few weeks, so why not make the best out of it while it’s still playing?