Get Cultured — December 12, 2014 at 11:40 am

The Magic That is the Broadway Show “If/Then”

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IdinaMenzel_National-Theatre

The last Broadway play I can remember seeing was Beauty & The Beast when I was around eleven years old. Yes, I had been to plays before then and I have certainly been to plays since, but unfortunately, the way my bank account is set up, none of these plays have been on Broadway. All I can remember is just being astounded. I was completely floored by the lighting, the set, the costumes, the singing, the acting, the everything. I probably lost so much oxygen that day from holding my breath out of sheer amazement. I had always wanted to catch another one since then, but knew I would have to be patient until time made itself a little more available to me.

As luck would have it, that time made itself available on the cold night of November 14th, when I was truly blessed enough to have been able to get tickets to the Broadway musical, If/Then. I’m extremely embarrassed to admit this, but I pride myself on honesty so I will: I had not really heard of that show before. Yes, the name sounded vaguely familiar when I was told I could get tickets to it, but I wasn’t sure if it was truly familiar to me or if I was just convincing myself it was familiar because I felt as if it should be. Either way, I immediately looked it up and what I discovered made my jaw drop: this show starred Idina Menzel. Ok, ok, I should have known that and I should have known the show, but life gets busy and it happens. Regardless, I was starstruck just reading her name on the show’s website. I. Couldn’t. Wait.

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I caught this show at the Richard Rodgers Theater on West 46th Street. As soon as the audience entered, directly to the left was a little bar selling all types of drinks, both alcoholic and non, in cool takeaway If/Then cups. Everyone working there was so pleasant and friendly; I was really enjoying myself before I had even taken my seat.

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After sitting, one of the first things that caught my eye about the set was the huge mirror that was positioned above the stage facing down. Since I was seeing this play with someone who had watched it multiple times already, I was fortunate enough to be advised to keep an eye on the mirror throughout the duration of the show (advice I am so happy I followed). Throughout the show, there were parts of certain scenes when the mirror reflected designs on the stage floor that were only viewable by the audience through the mirror. For example, there was a musical number about living in New York City, and the mirror reflected the subway map drawn out in lights on the floor. It was impossible to see it on the floor from the audience’s point of view, though. Needless to say, it was extremely cool.

Since I don’t want to ruin the play for anyone who might want to see it, I won’t go into too much detail about the story or plotline. I will say, however, that the whole show revolves around one woman who had a choice at the very beginning. It was a decision that was ostensibly quite insignificant and small- whether to go grab coffee with a man or to go with her two friends. The rest of the play follows her life if she had made either decision. It is basically split down the middle into two plays, one about her as the person she ends up being after making one choice, one about her as the person she ends up being after making the other. A really cool part was the color of the backdrop changed from blue to red depending on which reality was being played out at the time. Not only was this a creative and brilliant, but also very helpful in case the audience was unsure.

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The play is hilarious, entertaining, heartwarming, and at times, very heartbreaking. It also hits home for anyone living in the city, for there is a good deal of Manhattan-based humor. Idina Menzel was outstanding, not that I expected anything else. The rest of the cast was pretty flawless, as well. It brought me to tears multiple times, touching both my heart and my funny bone. It’s not exactly for younger audiences, but other than that, I would recommend this play to absolutely any and every one.

*Images via Joan Marcus

Twisted Talk: What was the last Broadway show you saw? Which one is your favorite? Discuss below!

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