Family business is a great institution--if you're ready for an institution." That expression sets the stage for the musical comedy "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home," an interactive dramatization that offers a humorous exploration of the issues that can tie a family business in knots.
"The story resembles the feud between [biblical siblings] Jacob and Esau, one who's more head-oriented and one who's more heart-oriented," says Ira Bryck, director of the University of Massachusetts Family Business Center in Amherst and co-author of the musical with corporate psychologist Erik Muten. The play debuted at Connecticut's University of New Haven in June and so far has 20 bookings nationwide.
"Families inappropriately impose [a lot of their rules] on the business environment," says Bryck. When that doesn't work and family relationships sour, the business often suffers, too. According to Bryck, just 30 percent of family businesses make the transition to the next generation; those that make it to a third generation are even more rare (roughly 10 percent).
Employing business acumen and theater, "Wait" is enlightening and entertaining audiences at university-based family business programs around the country.
Backed by sponsors like PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and MassMutual, the traveling cast of "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" will appear at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, this month and at Boston's Northeastern University in November.
University of Massachusetts Family Business Center, (413) 545-1537, http://nmq.com/umass