If/Then – A Brilliant, Moving, Life Changing Musical



Every now and then, a musical comes around that isn’t just simply a musical, but a life changing experience. If/Then, currently playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, is just that type of musical.

If/Then tells the story of Elizabeth, a newly divorced woman who has just moved back to New York City after living in Arizona for a bit of time. When the show begins, we find Elizabeth in a park and immediately find out that the show is going to split into two stories- one of Liz, the side of Elizabeth that randomly meets a man in the park that she may just be destined to be with, and Beth, the side of Elizabeth offered a successful career and who follows that path. The gist of the show is that in life, we have choices, and it explores what would happen IF we were to make one choice vs another. 

The show stars Idina Menzel, who I personally adore. Idina has previously starred in Rent, won a Tony for her starring role in Wicked, played a recurring role on Glee, and recently shot to Disney fame with her performance of “Let It Go” from Frozen. In If/Then, Menzel is truly in her element, commanding the stage from the second she walks out. She is a modern Broadway diva and If/Then shows why she deserves this accolade. There are many highlights for her in the show, including “What The F**k,” a comedic number, “Some Other Me,” a beautiful duet about other versions of us that may have existed had we made different choices in life, and the stunning, jaw-dropping “Always Starting Over.” If you see this show for ONLY one reason (though there are many), let it be to see Menzel legitimately bring down the house with “Always Starting Over.” This is a diva moment, comparable to “Rose’s Turn” in Gypsy. It is THAT moving. I actually cried during the second half of the song, not with tears of sadness, but with tears of joy for how moving and stunning Menzel’s performance was. 


The other star of the show was definitely LaChanze, who plays Elizabeth’s friend Kate. LaChanze kept the show moving with many comedic moments, and I quite enjoyed seeing how in character she was. LaChanze has clearly thought out every detail of her character down to the facial expressions she would make. Not only did LaChanze do a great job acting but her vocals were out of the park as well, with the beautiful “No More Wasting Time” and “It’s A Sign.” I had never seen LaChanze on stage previously, but definitely plan to follow her to other shows, as she was wonderful. 

Rounding out the cast are the talented James Snyder and Anthony Rapp (who played Mark in Rent, but was absent the night that I saw the show; however, his understudy was great). 


If you are someone who typically pays attention to theater reviews and Tony nominations, you may know that If/Then did NOT receive the most favorable reviews and also did not get the most Tony nominations. I can attest to the fact that the reviewers missed something, as this is intelligent theater that perhaps was over their head and doesn’t fit into the “safe” box of traditional theater. As far as the Tony committee goes, they really slighted If/Then, as I firmly believe this deserved to be nominated- if not win- best musical and Idina DEFINITELY deserved to win the Tony for Best Actress.

I have seen numerous things this season on Broadway, and If/Then is among the best. It has everything a great show should have- great music, amazing talent, and it moves and shakes you to your core. Run- don’t walk- to see this brilliant, moving, life changing musical. You will not regret it. If you don’t, you may be left to wonder… what if?