IF/THEN, starring Idina Menzel
Last Saturday, October 17th, I experienced a truly amazing event. My friend Sandie took me to see the musical If/Then. And joy of joys, the stars who performed in this show on Broadway decided to open the national tour, performing in six cities I think. I’ve never gotten to Broadway yet, so there I was, sitting in the Buell Theater in Denver and listening to the great Idina Menzel sing her heart and soul out! If you’re not familiar with Idina, she was Elphaba in the original cast of Wicked, and she sings the song Letting Go from Frozen, among other things. The woman has a voice that can move you to tears or to joy and laughter. I was blown away and so thrilled to be there.
Sandie picked us up a little before noon, and we drove down to Denver, just like the day we went to Wicked back in June. Again, we had lunch at the Limelight restaurant, across from the theater. I had the hamburger and a mimosa. We were a little late, so we didn’t have time to finish our lunches, but you can bet I finished the mimosa! For the record, the burger was every bit as delicious as last time.
Sandie had ordered a braille program for me, and we got settled in our seats, and I began to read the program aloud. That’s when I discovered that the three other main cast members had Joined Idina in the national tour, so now we had not one but four Broadway stars performing right here!!
I don’t know what to say about the show. How can I express the humor, the tears, the way it moved me deep down? If you haven’t heard of it, If/Then tells the story of a woman, Elizabeth, who arrives in New York, meets a new friend right away and is reunited with an old friend. In the park, she thinks about two different paths her life could take. In one, she is Liz, and in another, she is Beth. At the end, we meet her back at the beginning in the park, and she takes the path, I at least, hoped she would. The changes from Liz to Beth happened so quickly, jumping from one life to another in the blink of an eye. But I found it easy to follow. Once I got to know the characters, and how Elizabeth’s life was going in each path, it was simple to follow. There is heartbreak and triumph in each path. And Idina told the story in song with so much passion I ached for the character and just wanted her to find happiness and peace. It was beautiful; it was moving; it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
After the show, we drove partway home and met Keven at an Italian restaurant called Caraba’s. I had a dish with corkscrew pasta and tons of different cheeses, plus a bowl of the best minestrone soup I’ve ever put in my mouth. It was just this side of almost too peppery, but it was so delicious I just wanted to keep on eating.
And then we came home. I had a thoroughly wonderful time. I still sometimes just sit and think about the show and ponder the different choices Liz and Beth made and the way those choices affected her and those around her. How many times have we all thought, if only I’d known I might have made different choices? And that’s what the story was all about. If you ever have the chance to see If/Then, don’t hesitate. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. I know I won’t.