Unfortunately, this is no Wicked or Rent.
If/Then fails to serve the greatness that is its leading lady and her big Broadway return in 10 years is dampened by a show that is underwhelming at best and laborious throughout.
The whole concept of the show, a musical ripoff of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors, does a disservice to the material and actors. If/Then would have worked A LOT better as a musical comedy! The show is a dramatic musical, but you're not very invested in the characters because you don't have time to be. The action is split into two alternating stories that explore the different consequences Idina's character would have been faced with if she made different decisions in her life.
Brian Yorkey's book literally made us groan repeatedly. There were so many moments we wanted to pull our hair out throughout the show, but then - thankfully - Idina would sing and all would be temporarily better.
Note to Mr. Yorkey: cursing repeatedly does not make your show "cool" or "edgy".
And even worse and more distracting than the book was the choreography by Larry Keigwin. It is just embarrassingly cheesy and bad!
THANKFULLY, though, there are some real standout performances. James Snyder brings so much warmth to his role as the love interest that you can't help but fall in love with him. And LaChanze brings so much humor and personality to her role as the best friend that she almost steals the
Annmarie Milazzo did a FANTASTIC job with the vocal arrangements and she must be applauded for truly giving the audience what they want - to hear Idina sing and really show off that big and iconic voice of hers!
Menzel is at the top of her game vocally, and despite the show itself being lackluster, she will still likely get a Tony nomination!
Hopefully next in line for her… Menzel with a Z! Or something like that!
A Menzel one-woman show would have a lot more appeal and would be such a universally loved hit!
Do it! Do it! Do it!