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Home arrow Reviews arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Reviews By Scott arrow If/Then is Best of Broadway
If/Then is Best of Broadway PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Scott Lewis   
Jan 28, 2016 at 09:10 PM

Robert Frost's “The Road Less Traveled” ends with the passage “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”  Daily in life we come to these crossroads.  We are constantly presented with choices that depending on our choice of path determine the direction of our lives.  This is the premise of If/Then.  “If” we choose this road “Then” this is the path our live takes, alternatively “If” we choose the other road, “Then” our life path takes a different direction.

These choices impacts, dare I say direct our future and who we become.  If/Then offers the unique opportunity to view our protagonists' life, her choices and we get to expire the direction her life takes when choosing both roads.

Elizabeth becomes a split personality if you will.  “Beth” the taker of the well  worn road that is familiar and safe and the predictable, yet also somewhat a boring road.  The “Liz” side chooses the road is the less traveled and as Frost says in his poem, it makes all the difference.  This is the road of adventure, of chances and of potentially such greater reward, though any high rise investment in life comes with higher risk for greater loss.  This is the more fun road, but is it the best choice for her to take the road less traveled?

This is a fascinating look at the impact each and every choice makes on the direction of our life and future and will have me pausing before making daily decisions realizing it's potential impact on my future.

The role of Elizabeth/Beth/Liz was originated on Broadway by Idina Menzel who was very involved in the development of the show and her role.  I spoke with Mesnzel a few years ago and she was developing this production with the creative team on the heels of her success on Glee and while she was unable to disclose much to me then her enthusiasm for this show was overflowing.  I can understand why.  This is not the watered down Broadway fare that seems to dominate the great white way today.  This is classic, and really good Broadway.

If/Then is not a Broadway show for the novice.  It is someone complex in it's jumping from Beth to Liz to illustrate the two paths Elizabeth's life could take based on her decisions. The parallel story lines both containing the same cast of characters can at times be a tiny challenge to keep up with if you are not familiar with this device.

It is a bit complex but well worth the effort to keep up.  The show is infused with great humor that will have you laughing and smiling throughout.  The score is easily one of the best in years.  It is not perfect but more often than not the music is pure bliss.

Though Menzel is absent from the touring production, you can feel her and her touches throughout.  Replaced in the tour by Jackie Burns, this is not the first time Burns has followed in Menzel's footsteps into a stage role and with good reason.

There are not many who could follow Menzel vocally and Burns is a powerhouse anytime she opens her mouth to sing.  She is such a powerhouse that most numbers without her leading the way only created a lull in the production most of which I found about as exciting as waiting for a tax refund.

A notable exception is “No more wasted time, a group number that you will find your self humming on the way to your car after the performance.  The show shines in several area's.  Anytime Jackie Burns sings it's magical.  The show's humor is engaging and was somewhat unexpected.  American Idol finalist Tamyra Grays shines as a lesbian live by the seat of your pants character that gives the show a life that is delicious.

Tamyra Grays
Tamyra Grays
The score is one of the most completely satisfying since Wicked with nearly all songs engaging, entertaining and most of all enjoyable.  While it is disappointing Menzel left the tour last month as there is definitely something missing without her, IF/Then is still an amazing piece of work well worth the price of admission.

The great lesson of If/Then is to remind us that the decisions we face daily have consequences and possibly much greater than we would think.  It reminds us that the next time we are at that divergence of a road in the woods of life, we should pause to realize there are real consequences to the the choice we make here, consequences we must really consider. Unfortunately, unlike Elizabeth/Beth/Liz we only get to choose on of the roads and can never really know where the other would have led.

If/Then runs through Sunday at the Winspear Opera House in the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dallas.  Tickets are $25-$125 depending of performance and are available at http://attpac.org



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Last Updated ( Jan 31, 2016 at 09:32 PM )

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