BWW Review: IF/THEN National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center
If/Then is an original musical that tells the story of Elizabeth Vaughan, a 40-year-old woman who moves back to New York City seeking a fresh start to her life. The musical depicts two different paths of where Elizabeth's life could take her.
After having its out-of-town tryout at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., the musical made its Broadway debut on March 30th, 2014. Although it received a very mixed critical reception and very little awards recognition, it still enjoyed a year-long run on The Great White Way after closing on March 22nd, 2015.
While the show's structure can get a little confusing at first, what should help audiences tell them apart is that Elizabeth wears glasses in one timeline as Liz, and doesn't wear them as Beth in the other. Director Michael Greif also does some very inventive staging with Mark Wendland's sets and Kenneth Posner's lighting. The choreography by Larry Keigwin is nice, but does seem a little overdone.
In the lead role of Elizabeth, Broadway alum Jackie Burns does a very impressive job taking on that same character while going through two different timelines. She even has a number in Act I that had the audience laughing. She is well-joined by a great cast that also includes Anthony Rapp (best known as the original Mark Cohen in Rent) as Elizabeth's college friend Lucas. He also shares a fun little scene with North Carolina native English Bernhardt in Act II; Tamyra Gray (who was a finalist on the first season of American Idol) as Elizabeth's neighbor Kate; and Matthew Hydzik as Liz's love interest Josh.
While If/Then may not be as impressive as Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's previous musical Next to Normal, it's still a very interesting and compelling musical that explores the important question of 'What if?' This national touring production is currently playing at Durham Performing Arts Center through May 29th.
For more information regarding the tour, please visit: http://www.ifthenthemusical.com/home.php