If/Then- Watch it for Idina
It’s hard to say how well If/Then would have done, if Idina Menzel had not been a part of the cast. Menzel’s return to Broadway, after a whole decade, was highly speculated. Her fans are certainly going to be pleased about her return, and her performance in the musical. It seems like a wonderful follow up to the “Let It Go” craze, that just does not die down. But, here’s the million dollar question- what if Menzel was not in If/Then?
This might seem too harsh, but If/Then would not be a show worthy of Broadway if it had not been for it’s star cast. The characters are rather insipid and colorless, and they fail to make up for the lack of a plot. A musical about destiny, choices and possibilities can be without a plot- as long as the characters are strong enough to carry the burden on their backs. However, this musical fails on both the fronts.
Menzel shines as the middle aged urban planner who cannot decide whether strategy is better than impulse. Broadway is all about showcasing dilemmas and the pain of choices, but the choices depicted in the musical are not nearly emotionally charged enough to make an impact on the audience.
Tom Kitt, who scored the music, has done a wonderful job. Brian Yorkey and Michael Greif, who handled the story and direction, respectively, could have certainly done a better job. The stage setting was done beautifully- it was a wonderful interpretation of New York’s urban landscape.
Bottom line? If you have been a devoted Wicked fan all your life, go watch If/Then. It’s wonderful seeing Menzel back on stage. If you are still not convinced, just watch Wicked and swoon over Menzel’s beautiful performance.