We’re beginning to see signs that the new booking agents for the National Theatre are living up to their promise to keep the lights on at that historic theatre. Their first announcement is a big one: a world premiere, pre-Broadway tryout of the musical If/Then starring Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel.
If/Then‘s creative team Tom Kitt (music), Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) and Michael Greif (director) found great success in DC once before with Next to Normal, which had a troubled production in New York, came in for a re-work at Arena Stage and went on to win multiple Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
This time, the press release tells us, Kitt and Yorkey have written a romantic musical about how choice and chance collide and how we learn to love the fallout. The show centers around Elizabeth, nearly 40, who moves to New York City, the ultimate city of possibility, intent on a fresh start – new home, new friends, and hopes for a resurgent career. But even in her carefully planned new life, the smallest decision or most random occurrence will impact her world in ways she never dreamt possible.
If/Then will mark Idina Menzel’s first return to Broadway after winning the Tony Award for Wicked in 2004. Since then, she had a highly successful international concert tour which concluded with a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall in January. She made her Broadway debut in Pulitzer Prize-winner, Rent, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award, and followed that with her Tony Award-winning performance in Wicked, which she subsequently brought to London’s West End. Other New York stage work includes See What I Wanna See (Public), The Wild Party (MTC), and Hair (Encores). Menzel is currently working on the Disney animated musical, Frozen, opening in November. She recreated her role in Chris Columbus’ film version of Rent, and appeared in movies as varied as Enchanted and Ask the Dust. On television, Menzel recurred over multiple seasons of Glee and has guest-starred in numerous other shows.
“I’ve experienced the beauty of working on original musicals and was eager to find a project where the material was exciting and new and spoke to my heart. I’m thrilled to have finally found it – an original musical with a complex, flawed, and surprising central character that I cannot wait to bring to life onstage,” Menzel said. “I have loved collaborating with Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey on the creation of this character. And it is such a blessing to be reunited with Michael Greif, who launched my career with Rent, and [producer]David Stone, who took such good care of me with Wicked. I am extremely excited about If/Then and very much look forward to returning home to Broadway.”
“We started writing If/Then shortly after Next to Normal opened on Broadway, and through all the exciting things that have happened since then, we’ve been so thrilled to keep coming back to this show, our partnership, and our work with Michael and David – it feels like home,” said composer Tom Kitt and lyricist/book writer Brian Yorkey. “And we couldn’t ask for a more exciting leading lady than Idina Menzel, whose unbelievable talent, professionalism, humor and spirit have completely infused this character.”
If/Then opens for previews at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 and officially opens on Sunday, November 24, 2013. The production will begin previews on Broadway on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 and will officially open on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at a Nederlander Theatre to be announced. On-sale dates, performance schedule, and ticket information will be announced shortly. For more information, please visit www.ifthenthemusical.com.