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The Dos and Don’ts of Touring a Broadway Show

It's not all singing and dancing.


This month, Ms. “Let It Go” herself, Idina Menzel, comes to our fair city in If/Then—a musical about a single thirty-something who moves to New York City for a fresh start, at which point her life splinters into parallel realities. It received mixed reviews on Broadway—thumbs mostly up from audiences, mostly down from critics. So how do you make the touring production bigger and better? Director Michael Greif walks us through the plan. 

DO keep your leading lady (and most of the original cast).
Writer Brian Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt actually wrote the leading role specifically with Menzel in mind. So leave the big-note belting to the master. And if four other members of the original cast are willing to come along, don’t say no.

DON’T just lean on star power.
Yes, a high-profile name fills the seats, but “no one wants to go back to what we were doing,” says Greif, who was eager to rework some pieces. Still, repetition has its benefits: “Everyone knows the material so well and has the knowledge of having lived these characters’ lives.”

DO listen to the critics.
“It’s good for me to have the perspective of those reviews as I try to clarify and complicate parts of the story,” Greif says of the harshly critical feedback that followed the show’s premiere. “You must recognize the consistencies of the critics.”

DON’T take all their advice.
“The show certainly got its share of raves, and I like to hold on to that,” says Greif. “You have to sort through the critiques and then move on.”

If/Then is playing from November 10 through December 6 at the SHN Orpheum Theatre.

Originally published in the November issue of
San Francisco

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