Update: The musical If/Then has closed on Broadway. Check out Playbill to see what else is playing in New York City. If you want to search for cheap tickets for shows in New York City I highly recommend getting the Today Tix app for iOS or Android. Enter Promo Code JGZYL to $10 off your first show with Today Tix.
If/Then is one of the three musicals I saw on my last trip to New York City. You would think on my third visit to NYC that I’d want to do something else, other than see shows on Broadway, right? Well, we did do other things as well, but my friends and I love musicals. So I found myself back in Times Square and in the Broadway district, which was perfectly fine with me.
If/Then was not a show we had tickets to, but it was one we were interested in seeing. Two of my friends and I got tickets for If/Then at The Richard Rodgers Theatre. They came to $97.50 each. Our seats were on the orchestra level, and while we couldn’t get three seats together (I sat by myself) the seats themselves were fantastic. Unless you are quite short, the rows are staggered enough that you can see the stage unobstructed.
If/Then is a musical starring Idina Menzel (you might recognize her from this), Anthony Rapp, LaChanze and James Snyder. The music and libretto are by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey who did the music and lyrics for Next To Normal (which I saw in 2010 and loved). If/Then is directed by Michael Grief, who also directed Rent and Next to Normal.
If/Then is about Elizabeth (Menzel) who’s just moved back to New York City. In the first scene Elizabeth questions what her life would be like if she had made different choices. The musical shows her decisions from the perspective of her being either the fun and free-spirited Liz or as the professional workaholic Beth. Throughout the show, the view (from Liz to Beth) changes. We see how the choices she makes as either Liz or Beth change her life and those around her, including her friends (Rapp, LaChanze) and her love interest (Snyder).
Some people might find the changing perspective hard to follow (the show doesn’t announce when they’re switching from one point of view to another). I found it pretty easy to tell (from the costumes, changes in sets, and even from the actors) what world (Liz’s or Beth’s) the show was in. The next day my friends and I met a lady who came to the show late and missed the setup for the premise. She remarked that she found the show confusing. I recommend getting to the theatre on-time (or early) for this show.
The entire cast was fantastic. Of course, there is a bias because I’ve been a fan of Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp since Rent. My friends, also Rentheads remarked that If/Then has a Rent feel if the show followed up on the characters some 20 years in the future when they have jobs and mortgages, etc. This is just me projecting my own opinions and perceptions onto the show. That’s the thing with art; it’s never in a bubble.
Regarding song style, this show reminded me of Next to Normal. The show has a kind of rock/pop contemporary musical score. This is the first time I’ve been to a musical that’s so new I wasn’t able to get the original cast recording. It’s coming out on June 3, and I’ll be buying it.
If/Then brings up important questions about life and the choices we make. There are some adult situations (mostly strong language). It’s not the kind of show that will hold the attention of little kids. This isn’t a flashy musical, but it’s definitely a character-driven musical. If you’re a fan of Rent or Next to Normal or if you’re looking to see a modern show focusing on characters you’ll enjoy If/Then. It’s not often I get to watch a newly debuted musical, so seeing If/Then was an enjoyable experience.
Things You Should Know
I paid for my ticket to see If/Then and this post has not been sponsored or endorsed by any person or organization.
The Richard Rodgers Theatre is at 226 West 46 Street, New York City. The closest subway stations are the 49th Street Station (Lines N Q R W) or 47th Street Station (Line 7).
While I was in New York City my friends and I stayed at the St Giles Hotel on the Upper West Side. It was a nice mid-range hotel and only a couple of blocks from Grand Central Station. Of course, there is no shortage of accommodation in New York City you can book here.
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What Broadway show would you like to see?