Travolta’s Oscar Flub Could Be Good for Broadway Musical ‘If/Then’

John Travolta memorably mangled Idina Menzel’s name during the Oscars on March 3 and that may have been rough for Menzel right before she belted out the hit tune from Disney’s “Frozen.” But in the silver lining department, it could actually be a good thing for “If/Then,” the upcoming Broadway musical in which Menzel stars.

The latest work by the creative team of Pulitzer winner “Next to Normal,” “If/Then” begins previews this week as the spring’s only new musical not attached to a big-name Hollywood property. Whereas “Rocky,” “Aladdin,” “Bullets Over Broadway” and the just-opened “The Bridges of Madison County” can all capitalize on a high level of audience familiarity, “If/Then” must try to turn Broadway theatergoers’ heads without that leg up.

The only new tuner of the spring not adapted from a pre-existing source, “If/Then” can position itself as the entirely original, prestige title of the season, especially since it comes from creatives that have already scored the Pulitzer stamp of approval. Menzel, the “Frozen” star who is one of Broadway’s reigning divas even after almost a decade away from its stages, also has a rabid following with a surprisingly wide reach thanks to her career-making perfs in “Rent” and “Wicked.”

But Travolta’s slip-up made Menzel an even hotter Oscar topic than she might have been otherwise. Her name was already trending on Twitter prior to her “Frozen” perf, but the flub suddenly attracted attention to her even from those watchers who didn’t know who she was.  (Soon Adele Dazeem, the name Travolta substituted for Menzel’s, also trended on Twitter.)

Menzel was already hitting new heights of popularity thanks to her performance in Disney smash “Frozen,” which recently passed $1 billion at the worldwide box office. But chances are, even more people know who Menzel is now.

That additional jolt to the performer’s public profile seems like it can only help “If/Then.” The musical may not have the marketing muscle of a familiar movie title behind it, but with the success of “Frozen” and Oscar night flub, the show nonetheless has some Hollywood recognition going for it now.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content