BWW Blog: To the Mothership - Day Five - If/Then
Well this is it, Dear Readers. The trip has come to an end (sigh) and even as I type this I am winging back to the Emerald City and leaving the Mothership behind. It's been an exciting trip with tons of thrilling theater. But before we wrap up, we still need to talk about one more show, "If/Then".
What can I say about Idina Menzel? She's just a big damn star and it's a privilege to watch her do just about anything. And wrap her up in a truly interesting new show from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey and you're in for an incredible night. In their new show "If/Then" we explore two different paths one woman's life can take based on one decision. Even the name she goes by manages to change when Elizabeth (Menzel) either chooses to hang out with her new free spirited friend Kate (LaChanze) and listen to a street performer (in which case she goes by 'Liz') or go with her old friend Lucas (Anthony Rapp) to a protest (which gives her the more serious moniker of 'Beth'). Ultimately it boils down to her choice between a life of love and family with the handsome doctor Josh (James Snyder) home from his tour with the Army overseas or a life devoted to career with little time for many personal distractions.
It's an interesting convention to say the least and the songs and performances certainly drive the story along well. I only found two minor problems with it. First, it seemed a very New York centric show. Which since we're in New York that's fine but it seemed to limit itself in that regard from venturing beyond. And secondly, since we have two different lives going on it was difficult to see when the end was coming. I mean, it's the story of a life so when do we stop telling it? And there were two of them. So it seemed to end several times over.
As I said Menzel is incredible but her supporting cast manages to keep pace and shine as well. LaChanze brings a kind of take no prisoners exuberance to Kate and completely sells her. Rapp is wonderful with his two different types of friends his characters take on. Snyder couldn't be more of the ideal suitor. He's funny, smart, sweet and yes, hot. And his voice just kind of melts over you. Jenn Colella brings her own brand of crazy and some killer pipes to the role of Anne, Kate's wild girlfriend. And in a role normally played by Jason Tam, understudy Marc delaCruz brought a ton of heart and likability to David, Lucas' boyfriend. And seeing as how delaCruz is a former Seattle boy, it's kind of appropriate that he end up in the performance I saw. And he nailed it!
For more information on this one you can visit them online at www.ifthenthemusical.com.
So there you have it, Dear Readers. A whirlwind trip with some outstanding options. And to sum up ...
Casa Valentina - A Touching and riveting bit of unexplored history.
Sleep No More - A visceral experience.
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Goofy, kooky fun.
Mothers and Sons - Beautiful and totally affecting.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch - A killer show and Harris and Hall kill it!
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill - Tragically gorgeous and McDonald is stunning.
Buyer & Cellar - Absolutely hysterical.
Heathers: The Musical - A fun bit of nostalgic throwback.
If/Then - A very interesting convention with some amazing performances.
Now it's back to Seattle to see what wonders we have to offer. At least until the next time the Mothership calls me home.