Entertainment » Music

If/Then - Original Broadway Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Jun 24, 2014
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Our choices dictate our lives. Every moment, we choose one path over another, and our lives continue to be subject to the consequences of those actions. Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the creators of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, "Next to Normal," have chosen to pursue this cause and effect of life with their new musical, "If/Then," and thanks to a strong cast led by Tony Award-winning actress, Idina Menzel, many will take the opportunity to give a listen to the now-released soundtrack, available from Masterworks Broadway.

Menzel plays Elizabeth, a 38-year old, recently divorced woman back in her hometown of Manhattan. The show follows her down two simultaneous paths, each dictated by her respective decisions throughout the musical. One centers around her relationship with her best friend, Lucas (Anthony Rapp), and another around a navy doctor, Josh (James Snyder), who she randomly meets one afternoon in the park. The other principals in "If/Then," read like a list of some of the recognizable names on Broadway today, including Tony winner LaChanze ("The Color Purple"), Jason Tam ("Last Five Years"), Jenn Colella ("Closer Than Ever") and Miguel Cervantes ("Giant").

But the highlight of the show is clearly Menzel. Fresh on the heels of her international hit, "Let It Go," from the Disney smash, "Frozen," and forever immortalized by the John Travolta debacle pronouncing her name, the star of "Rent" and "Wicked" finally gets to show us that her interpretive venture outside those of the screaming pop ballad. Her Elizabeth keeps us enraptured from the opening number ("What If?") through her 11 o’clock showstopper, "Always Starting Over," which should quickly rise to the top of the over-sung audition songs. The actress burns all of Liz’s (or Beth’s, depending on which path she’s navigating) conflict into our consciousness, particularly on her solo, "What the F*ck?" and her duet with Snyder, "I Hate You."

Menzel fans should flock to pick up this release, but the newly converted should also purchase it, as they will not be disappointed.

"If/Then (OBCR)"
Idina Menzel / Tom Kitt / Brian Yorkey
CD and digital formats
Masterworks Broadway

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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