You enter your local theatre and go directly to your seats. After settling in, you peruse the program. You read about the actor playing “Lucas” and the actress playing “Elena.” Then, as you’re reading about the other shows coming to your town, the house lights dim and the orchestra begins playing the “Prologue.”
There’s nothing more exciting than when a Broadway musical starts. Tonight, it’s the Tony nominated If/Then. For the next two and half hours, you’ll be whisked to New York City to follow the exploits of the show’s heroine, Elizabeth Vaughan.
Doesn’t If/Then Have a Gimmick?
For a lack of a better word, the musical If/Then does have a gimmick. That gimmick is it tells two congruent stories about Elizabeth (she’s “Liz” in one and “Beth” in the other). Each is a different path Elizabeth’s life could have taken.
While the stories diverge early in Act I they never converge. If/Then is all about the role choice and chance plays in our lives.
Does This Gimmick Work?
It does, but you should probably know it’s the aspect pundits criticize the most. They claim that it can be difficult to tell which story is which.
To distinguish between the two plot lines, Elizabeth is bespeckled in one and not in other. Also, each story has different lighting hues.
Still, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the story before buying If/Then tickets. Then again, it seems only critics have a problem following the parallel stories.
Broadway fans, who flocked to If/Then, had no such issue. If they did then If/Then would have not won six Broadway.com audience awards including Favorite New Musical.
Doesn’t Idina Menzel Have Something To Do With If/Then?
The great Idina Menzel, who starred in Rent and Wicked, originated the role of Elizabeth Vaughan on Broadway. For her performance, she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League awards.
Menzel also played Elizabeth in the first national touring production that launched in October 2015. After seven cities, Menzel was replaced by Jackie Burns.
Who Is The Creative Team Behind If/Then?
Brian Yorkey wrote the book and lyrics. Tom Kitt composed the music. Those two are also responsible for the acclaimed musical Next to Normal.
If/Then was directed by Michael Greif. He also directed Next to Normal and Grey Gardens.
Mark Wendland designed the sets, Emily Rebholz designed the costumes, and the choreography was done by Larry Keigwin.