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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Broadway Cincinnati Presents “If/Then”

Sneak Peek by Alan Jozwiak: of If/Then: Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Cincinnati series presented by TriHealth

BroadwayIfThenImage BroadwayIfThenImageIf/Then, the latest Broadway musical coming to the Aronoff Center, deals with a turning point in the life of Elizabeth, a middle-aged woman who moves back to New York to restart her life after getting a divorce. As the play progresses, the audience gets to see two different life paths that Elizabeth could take based on her initial choice of whether or not to stay in a park.

Each act depicts a different life path for Elizabeth based on that initial choice.

Essentially, the musical acts as a “What if?” exercise–What if I had gone out for cross country, continued studying the piano, taken that out-of-town job, married another person, etc.?

In the spirit of those choices and the different paths that people can take in life, I am going to construct the rest of this piece as a set of two alternatives based on a single choice.

If you go to see If/Then:

  • You will see one of the rare Broadway musicals these days not based on a movie or song list from a popular rock group.   The musical was created by the creative team of Tom Kitt (music), Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), and Michael Greif (director) who were behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal. Kitt and Yorkey were nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score.
  • You will get to see two cast members from the original Broadway show– Jackie Burns (If/Then, Wicked, Hair) who plays the lead as Elizabeth and Anthony Rapp (Rent, Six Degrees of Separation, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown) who plays the part of community organizer Lucas. Jackie Burns was the understudy for Idina Menzel, who originated the role of Elizabeth on Broadway.
  • On a personal note, if you go to see If/Then, you will meet this fantastic person who accidentally spills their water into your lap while you are sitting in your seat during intermission. As this person profusely apologizes, your eyes will meet and sparks will fly.
  • After almost a year of dating, they will propose. You will accept. After the wedding and honeymoon in Hawaii, your life will be filled with children and warm evenings by the fire with lots of snuggling.

If you don’t go to see If/Then:

  • You won’t get a chance to see how people survive and thrive in New York City. According to the production notes, “New York City is a major character in this show –the random connections and sense of possibility that make city life so singular and surprising.”
  • You also won’t get a chance to explore the role that we can create community in our lives. If/Then is a show about the way that community is created in a large metropolitan city like New York City and how that community can end up becoming our family of choice.
  • On a personal note, if you don’t go to see If/Then, you will end up at home, eating lots of junk food and binge watching Making of a Murderer.
  • You will then answer a knock on your door. It is a cult member who woos you to join their ashram.
  • While at the ashram, you will spend your days eating bulgur wheat, chanting Aztec lullabies, and forgetting all about great Broadway shows.
  • One day, you will realize the error of your ways and want to see If/Then, but it will have moved on to another city and you will be left with nothing but bitterness and regret.

The choice is clear—go to see If/Then and your life will be better and more complete.

If/Then runs from February 2 – 7, 2016 at the Aronoff Center as a part of the 2015/2016 Fifth Third Broadway in Cincinnati season presented by TriHealth. For ticket information, go to the Aronoff Center Box Office downtown at 650 Walnut Street, online at CincinnatiArts.org or by phone at 513.621.ARTS