If/Then Reviews – This is Your Warning!

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If/Then Reviews

If/Then Reviews

At Miss Saigon I cried, Phantom I cried and at If/Then I cried.  I didn’t cry at Les Mis, Fiddler or other shows, but before you think this is going to be one of the positive If/Then reviews, think again.  Yes, the show made me cry and yes I loved the music so normally I would do positive reviews of If/Then the Musical starring Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp.  The show actually was amazing, but before I recommend it, please read this post so you can know what to expect and if you should buy tickets for If/Then the Musical.

Idina does an amazing job and Anthony Rapp does as well.  LaChanze is incredible and the talent is not lacking with the supporting cast.  The funny thing is that it is basically a grown up version of Rent the Musical which both Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp were both in.  In this one he goes gay while she stays straight, but he is still an activist and she remains both sided just like in Rent.  Instead of a cow jumping over the moon, she belts out a song under the stars.  The show is literally a grown up or sequel fun alternative to the hit broadway show Rent.  Again, my If/Then reviews are still not positive because even if you are a Rent head, you need to be warned.

The show is amazing and you will love it…if you can get through the two major flaws that I hope they fix before If/Then the musical goes to NY.  If they don’t fix these two issues, then the If/Then reviews are not going to be so good.  The first issue is that the entire first act is wayyyy….tooooo….long.  It is like you are listening too the same exact song and scene over and over and over and you want to kill yourself.  The music is great and the acting is wonderful, but they could easily cut out 30 minutes and the show would be perfect.  The second act of If/Then the Musical was amazing and the time was exactly where it should have been.  By cutting down the first act of If/Then the musical, when it hits NYC, the If/Then reviews will probably be a lot better than what will happen if they don’t shorten it.  Then there is the next issue, the staging.

If/Then the musical constantly changes back and forth from when Idina Menzel’s character is younger and older.  She changes jackets to let you know and they call her Liz when she’s older and Beth when she’s younger in If/Then the musical.  Unfortunately the changes happen too fast and on at least half of them you cannot tell if it is in the past or not.  She sleeps with Lucas (Anthony Rapp) but it was actually her husband (I won’t spoil it for you).  The worst is at the very end when she meets her true love, and you don’t know if it’s a different scenario from the past or if it is her starting new.  You assume it is her in the past but you hope it is new.  If they could shine a different colored light on her for the present Liz or a different color for the past Beth that would help a lot.  In Jekyll and Hyde the main character pulls his hair back when he’s normal and lets it flow out when he is the evil Mr. Hyde.  Even doing that with the older Liz having flowing hair or pulled back hair and the younger Beth the opposite would let you know.  It gets way too confusing and not a single person we talked to could follow along.  If they could fix this and fix the first act by cutting it down then our If/Then reviews would be amazing and we would love it.

If/Then the musical

If/Then the musical

With that said, I highly recommend you buy tickets for If/Then the Musical.  You can buy tickets for If/Then on sale by clicking through to our tickets vendor page on the link above or click on the banner on the side of this blog that says buy half price or discount tickets.  They have most shows with half price tickets for If/Then the musical on sale still.  Even with a long first act and bad staging so you cannot tell whether or not they are in the past or present during If/Then the Musical, our If/Then reviews are amazing.  If/Then the musical gets 4 out of 5 stars and close to 4 and a half.  It takes a lot to get me and a lot of my friends to cry and this show did it.  If they cut down the time in the first act and make it more clear, our If/Then the musical reviews would have been a definite 4 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend you go see it!

10 Responses to “If/Then Reviews – This is Your Warning!”

  1. Peter Halverson

    Perhaps this goes to your point about how the staging does or doesn’t support the plot, but Liz/Beth are not younger/older versions of the same character. They are the same age, each following different life journeys after making a particular choice. I agree it was not always easy to tell whose timeline we were seeing, particularly in scenes where the two stories intertwine in location, eg Beth/Liz’s apartment (the geography of the city is one of the few constants), but if you missed that then you missed the essential theme of the show (and the reason for the title) — how our choices affect our futures.

    • BroadwayReviewed

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your comment. I re-read this again and again and now I can see your point a bit more. When I write these posts it is when I’m just done seeing the show. I try to remember what I saw, what I thought and then I write. I don’t edit, spell check or anything (which many of you have pointed out and some very rudely with attacks. I will take that to heart and work at cleaning up future reviews before I post them.). When I do reviews, they are exactly what I was thinking after I see the show. To me one character was wild while the other was calm and collected and the one appeared to be younger while the other older.

      When watching the show I saw it as the character made a choice when she was the wild one and then you get to see what happens based on her choice which is the more adult Liz version. It was flipping from when she made a choice as Beth and then you get to see Liz now that she made it. I probably could have worded the post better to more clearly say what I was thinking. If writing this blog was my job or this site was something that provided me with an income then I would have edited, reviewed, etc…

      This site is something I do for fun and something that is my personal opinions. I like that you came on and disagree with them because it helps people see another point of view. However it does not provide an income and is for me to remember what shows I saw, what showtunes I loved or even if I’m having a bad day, what showtunes I enjoyed hearing to cheer me up. I am not paid to do this by the theatres, I am usually not given free tickets and am not associated with any of the theatres or production companies. It is just me and a couple of friends who everyonce in a while write a post. I would love to have you write one if you would like. Let me know.

      After getting a ton of comments (I did not approve them all) I still stand by how I saw the show and that it is the decision she makes when she is younger and then you see the outcome, but she appears older when you see what happened based on the decision she made. I agree with you more now that I have thought about what you said with the birthday party scene where it could be either Liz or Beth at the same age, but at the same time, if I didn’t read your comment and think about it, I would have assumed that it was the older version of the characters and not the same person at the same time.

      This is why they do previews. They can clean and fix and help to modify the show for when it goes to NYC. They can work on making it more clear, easier to follow and better for everyone. They can do a blue light when she’s the “older” or Liz character and they can do a white light when she is the “younger” or Beth character. They can have her wear her hair out or in when she changes between characters, etc…

      I still think my review is accurate because it is how I saw the show and when talking to my friends they felt the same way. I called someone who saw it a different day and that person agreed with me after we talked as well. You guys saw it one way which is great, we saw it another. If the people that produce the show realize that there are multiple ways to see and understand the show then maybe they’ll try to make it more clear.

      Thank you for your feedback as it is definitely helpful and will help other people who may find this blog or find this post.

      Broadway Reviewed

  2. Todd

    I don’t mean to be a comment troll, but…

    Wow. I could not disagree more with this review. Not only that, but the above reviewer DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE STORY (AT ALL!). This show is not about a :younger and older version of Idina Menzel’s character, it is following the SAME character along two different life-paths based on making a different choice at one moment in her life. Is it confusing? Absolutely. So I am not surprised that the reviewer didn’t get it.

    I love Rent but this is NOT in anyway a sequel to Rent. I thought the performances were fine, but thought this show was a complete mess. It is “Sliding Doors: The Musical” except without any of the charm, let alone the clarity of the two life-paths based on a single moment of “what if” (not if/then). Instead this show has managed to muddle multiple lives into the multiple life-path formula. It is almost impossible to keep the “what if” scenarios straight, other than some light changes (red for one path and blue for the other).

    There is not one uptempo number in the show. The show is a big jumble of current social issues (gay marriage, affordable housing, abortion, military, political jabs, life vs work tradeoffs) without actually saying anything substantial about any of them.

    The staging of this show is TERRIBLE! There is not one bit of choreography in the show, but there is plenty of “chorus movement” that makes zero sense and is distracting.

    I cried at this production too, but only because of the money and time I had wasted on the evening.

    If you want to understand how completely messed up this show is, you need look no further than the review above. The reviewer COMPLETELY did not understand the show. Much like the end of “Sliding Doors” when the two life-paths have “resolved” back to one, the character that did not “get the guy” is given a second chance when on her lifepath he walks in again 5 years later.

    Wow! I cannot believe how wrong the above reviewer is about this show. Sorry!

    • BroadwayReviewed

      Todd thank you for your very in your face feedback, however you are very wrong as well. The show has a younger version and older version of her character. That is what our entire group thought when we were talking about the show. They need to make it more clear if it is this confusing for everyone.

      Rent was also about social issues, etc… It can be seen as a more tame and adult version of rent and other people have agreed with this thought. It is a different plot but it has a ton of similarities which we can see and it was just something fun to point out. It is not supposed to be a sequel and is not supposed to mimic it but it is easily a more grown up version of rent with the same themes, undertones, etc… it is a a more grown up version of a show with the same undertones, a few of the same themes, but a different plot based around one character and that character’s decisions. Rent was based around the lives of multiple characters and their decisions and how it effected their lives. Benny who left to sell out and how he interacts, Roger who goes to Santa Fe, etc…

      There is choreography, but apparently you missed it. I saw gorgeous lifts in the park and great movements from the supporting cast. It just isn’t a huge dance show and some of the songs were a bit more upbeat, just not really fast. Your opinions are valid from your point of view, but your opinion of the show sounds very wrong to me. I don’t appreciate the tone of your comment, but I approved it because it is a different point of view than mine and can help people who may find this post and go see the show.

  3. BroadwayReviewed

    Hi Everyone,

    We have gotten numerous comments about If/Then the musical being about the same person and life choices and all of the comments either agree that they couldn’t tell if she was the older or younger version based on what she decided or if she is always the same age. We are not approving any comments on this post that are rude, offensive or will not help someone determine if they should see the show or not.

    We appreciate your feedback, both good and bad, but unless it is helpful it will not be approved. Everyone liked the show except for the one very rude commenter and everyone had the same exact two issues with If/Then the musical. The first act was too long and the storyline gets confusing and is hard to follow.

    Thank you for commenting but please keep it grownup and helpful or just say you loved it or hated it and why. There is no need to be immature.

    Broadway Reviewed.

  4. Lola

    This is merely intended to be helpful: the show is decidedly not about a character at two different ages, but rather about a character taking two alternate paths through life. It admittedly could be clearer, but multiple scenes make this clear enough (e.g. The scene in the hospital where Stephen is having his heart surgery and you see both Liz and Beth there, the birthday party for Liz and Beth on the roof, etc.).

    If you have any doubts, you (the editors of this website) really ought to clarify this major plot description with someone affiliated with the show and consider adding a note of clarification (if not an outright retraction of this well-meaning but misguided review).

    • BroadwayReviewed

      Hi Lola,

      Thank you for the comment as well. We are aware it is different life paths and choices but it also looks and sounds like she makes a choice and then it shows a version of what happens based on the choice. One of the characters appears older while one appears younger and it also flips back and forth within time for her. Even in the hospital scene it seems like they bounce back and forth in time. You may think it is misguided but it is also accurate.

      (This is not for Lola but in general) The people who have commented are looking at the plot way to literally and not actually realizing there are people who attend and watch and also agree with my review. When I was watching the show with my friends, it seems like she makes a decision and then you see her in the future and what happens. That was the way that all of us saw it and I even called a couple of people after your comments and they stand by what I wrote. Also, I am an independent Blogger, not a Journalist, not an English major and do not get free tickets to the shows. This blog is something I put together for fun and do it because I enjoy theatre. It is more of a personal diary and list of my favorite songs, shows, etc… Oddly enough some people like it and come back to read every post which I am very happy about. If you want perfect English and grammar and bribed reviews, go read a paper or someone who gets pampered and paid to go see shows. If you want honest opinions, come here. Yes I had ads on the site, but I have to pay for the url, hosting, etc… I write the posts for the blog and hit publish so it is exactly what I thought and my exact opinion. You can agree or disagree but guess what, I was not paid to write it, I was not given free tickets to the shows and I am not on any of the DC theatre’s PR lists.

      Thank you for the polite comment (I’m being 100% serious about it being polite). We have no affiliation with the show or theatre so we are not in collaboration with them. This is my personal opinion. The people with the show may find this post and get some feedback and may make a couple of changes before it goes to Broadway. That is why I allow certain comments to go live even if the opinions are different than my own. Hope you come back again,

      Broadway Reviewed

  5. Charley

    The comments here demonstrate what a huge mass of confusion this play is at this point. I will go further to say the flaws are so basic that I don’t see how it can be fixed. You could drop scenes (some are just begging for the axe) and get rid of some of the songs (all the music sounds pretty much the same anyway). The lyrics throughout are so without character that humming might do just as well. The acting is quite good and the set design is fun and dynamic. The movement (I can’t really call it dancing) is sluggish and awkward. Again, the concept is not bad but the way it is carried out is simply brutally confusing.

    • Broadway Reviewed

      We couldn’t agree more! Thank you for the comment Charley!

  6. Lynn

    I agree that it is too long (the entire Dick/Jane number could be cut) and too confusing. Another improvement would be to flesh out Josh’s character better. Everybody else is so vivid and he is virtuous and vanilla.

    To me and my group, it was pretty clear that the two timelines are concurrent, not sequential. She says in the dialog at the beginning “What would have happened if I had not stopped to listen to the man playing guitar in the park…” The description on the official website says “the road you take meets the one you didn’t” and the reviews published by Variety and the Washington Post agree with this fact. What was more confusing for my group was understanding which was the “real” timeline (the red-colored background, in my opinion) and what the purpose of the ending scene is.