Bravo for new musicals. While I love a good revival, it's good to know the art form isn't dead. If/Then is breathing new life into Broadway. No lavish sets (though they are cleverly designed), no light shows, no garish costumes. This show is about the music and the people. The talent, not the spectacle bring this show alive. Oh, and it's an homage to NYC too.
First let's talk about the star. Of course you know Idina Menzel. She made her name in Rent, then Wicked and now you can't turn on the radio without hearing Let it Go! But really her home is on the stage...and you can tell. She brings such ease and poise to the roll. It's like she was born for this. She's a fine actress in addition to the voice. And I don't need to tell you about the voice. Getting 90 minutes of her is a delight.
Now about the show. If/Then is set in the present. And it's all about choices. The ones we make and the ones we don't. We see the parallel lives of Beth play out as she reinvents herself in NYC as a city planner. Yes, it's a love story...and it's not. It's about friends, marriage, holding tight and letting go.
Though you are watching two stories at once, it's never confusing--you can easily follow as Beth jumps from life a to life b. Menzel enbues each life with such purity. You can guess the actress has likely struggled with a lot or the choices her character is wresting with. Kids? Career? Which man is right? As a 40 something New Yorker, this tugged at my heart in many ways.
What else? The show was almost stolen by LaChanze--this award-winning broadway star brought spunk and energy to the role of Kate (one of Beth's best buddies), I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. Wait, one more thing stole the show...the music. Honest to goodness lyrical music. Some other Me just made me melt (note cast album comes out in the summer). Grab your credit card, reserve tickets and go see it. Don't leave this one in the might have been category. This is a choice you should make!
Music: Tom Kitt, Book and Lyrics: Brian Yorkey, Director: Michael Greif
If/Then the Musical RICHARD RODGERS THEATRE 226 West 46th Street New York, NY 10036