Box office for the ambitious parallel-lives musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey peaked early in the show’s run, topping the $1 million mark in some weeks last spring. Audience enthusiasm was stoked not only by the first Broadway stint in a decade for Menzel — the “Rent” alum who won a Tony for creating the role of the Elphaba in “Wicked” — but by the pop-culture buzz that surrounded Menzel at the time, following the success of “Frozen” and the ensuing flub of her name on the Oscar telecast.
“If/Then” earned reviews that ranged from raves to pans, and although sales remained fairly solid throughout the summer, the fall has proven tougher on the show. Producers had no official comment on the recoupment prospects of the $10 million musical, but it’s understood that the show has paid back some of those costs to investors, although not all.
The middling success of “If/Then,” chronicling the two lives that one woman might have led based on a single inconsequential decision, in part underscores the challenges of selling an unfamiliar title with a challenging premise in a Broadway landscape crowded with family-friendly known quantities such as “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.”
Both producer David Stone (“Wicked”) and creatives Kitt, Yorkey and director Michael Greif found more box office and awards-season success in their prior team-up, “Next to Normal,” which recouped and won a Pulitzer Prize (as well as Tony for its lead actress).
“If/Then” will run through March 22 at the Richard Rodgers Theater, with Menzel appearing in the production through the end of its run.