So much anticipation had happened for the Idina Menzel starrer, If/ Then even prior to Menzel achieving household name status for her work in Frozen – how does that song go again? 😉 – so when the musical opened at the Richard Rogers theatre on Broadway, her fan base naturally had raving reviews, and judging from the cast recording recently released, they couldn’t be more right.
If/ Then was written by the same team that brought Next To Normal, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt. Now I am not going to compare the songs because there’s just no comparison. Although there are traces of the styling, the difference are evident. Besides, there’s just no point comparing them, right?
What I got in reading about the musical is that it has 2 different storylines parallel to each other; one “if this happens” and one “then this is will happen”. Somebody even pointed out that it is similar to the Gywneth Paltrow movie, Sliding Doors. Quite an interesting storyline if I got it right.
Although set in the present, the songs of If/ Then has a very time specific sound that I could not put my finger on, probably somewhere between the same timelines of Company or A Chorus Line. So far I could not make out the story from the first listen but I guess after a few more plays, I ought be able to follow the story line from there… which one’s Liz; which one’s Beth… if I’m in the “If” or if I’m in the “Then”.
I found the beginning a little slow and uninteresting after What If?, the first track after the show’s prologue but it picked up quickly, with stand out songs like What the F*ck?, Some Other Me, Best Worst Mistake, You Learn to Live Without, Love While You Can, and Always Starting Over. Can anybody confirm if these or which others are certified showstoppers?
It’s so great to hear Menzel and Anthony Rapp together again after Rent, and supported by LaChanze (from The Color Purple), James Snyder, Jenn Colella, and Jason Tam, among others, this cast recording is probably one of the best I had ever listened to I’m sure the show will have a hard time finding replacements for these players… well, except maybe if its Sherrie Renee Scott.
With a cult following that is growing with each positive review, I do hope that a touring company is in the works, so should I miss this on Broadway, I’d have a chance to experience and enjoy the songs that I can only imagine had already left a lasting mark on theatre enthusiasts everywhere.