It’s not only the stars that shine during the staging of If/Then, but the star of the show, Idina Menzel. Ms. Menzel stars as Elizabeth, a mid 30-something who’s just divorced her husband of 12 years and moved back to New York from Phoenix. She often wonders what would happen if she made different decisions – like going to the park a day later or answering a phone call vs not answering a phone call. It’s a fascinating theory and makes for a good story.. Elizabeth is called Liz in one direction her life could have gone and Beth in the other way her life could go. It’s a little confusing, since most of the same people are in both lives, but after a while you kind of figure out whether it’s a Liz or Beth scene.
Reasons to See If/Then the Musical
Idina Menzel is the top reason to go. If you don’t like her, this is not the show for you. She is essential and in every scene. She is an absolute pleasure to watch. She’s luminous and her voice is spectacular. Her best friend in the show, Kate is played by LaChanze, who is phenomenal. Great voice, terrific stage presence. She is definitely someone to watch.
The set and staging are done very cleverly. It’s kind of a bilevel set, lots of lights and empty wood frames and plain chairs are used to creatively show the NYC Subway, a plane, the park. Later on you see a little more detail in Liz/Beth’s bedroom. The show takes place over 5 years and there are two different “lives”, so I really thought they did a great job with how everything is showcased. The cast is super energetic and you could tell that everyone was really giving it their best effort.
Honestly, this is one place that If/Then fell short. I keep remembering one song, but the others weren’t that memorable. I think this could have worked just as well as a play, because it would have been still as compelling.It felt like an operetta and some of the songs were purely for telling the story. Then again, it’s Idina Menzel and she is totally riveting. She could have stood on stage and sang the Birthday Song and we would have all be enthralled.
Should you see it?
While I really enjoyed If/Then the Musical, I felt that the story was much stronger than the music. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but you aren’t going to keep singing these songs long after the show ends. I look at Broadway this way, most of the musicals I love like Le Mis and Phantom are classics — but I enjoyed the music much more than the story. Some musicals, like the new Cinderella, I enjoyed the story much more than the music (I can’t even name one of the songs from Cinderella). There are some that work with story and music, ie. Wicked, Hairspray, and Kinky Boots. I absolutely adored Rent, but it wasn’t a very happy story either. If/Then the Musical worked for me because of the story (and Idina Menzel). I say see it. It’s original and fresh and again.. it’s Idina.
There is adult subject matter. Children 12 and over are allowed in the theatre, but it’s not age appropriate unless over 18.
Go to http://www.ticketmaster.com/IfThen-tickets/artist/1923666 to get tickets.
I was given complimentary tickets, but as always, all opinions are my own.