Sporting Idina Menzel as its lead actress, If/Then debuted on Broadway in 2014, with the official soundtrack escalating to number 19 on Billboard’s Top 200. Despite this achievement, the musical hardly received any recognition then or today (which honestly may be in part because of the rise of Hamilton in the same general timeframe).
If/Then follows the life (well, lives) of Elizabeth Vaughan, a 38 year old urban planner who moves back to New York City after getting divorced from her husband with whom she had originally moved out west. The opening scene finds her in Madison Square Park with her friends Kate and Lucas, and the musical subsequently follows two timelines – one where she goes with Kate and the other where she goes with Lucas, one where she goes by Beth and the other where she goes by Liz.
The two timelines find Liz/Beth in very different situations, but what remains consistent is the show’s beautiful diversity. While Liz/Beth is white and straight, her friends and the other characters around her come from various races and sexual orientations. Kate, for example, is African-American and in a relationship with a woman named Anne. In one of the timelines, Lucas finds himself in a relationship with man named David. This positivity and love come to a head in the song “Love While You Can,” where the characters sing about loving who you want, where you want, and when you want because in the grand scheme of life, love is important and shall prevail.
“Love While You Can” isn’t the only good song from the musical, though. The soundtrack is filled with songs that exemplify every emotion imaginable. The heart, passion, and emotion instilled in each song by Idina Menzel and her cast-mates becomes more than obvious as you progress through the soundtrack. The songs range from the communally optimistic “A Map of New York” and “Ain’t No Man Manhattan” to the emotionally-driven “I Hate You” to the crisis-imbued “The Moment Explodes” – and everything in-between. The soundtrack offers music for everyone.
Debuting just one year after Idina Menzel portrayed Queen Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, If/Then finds Menzel’s Liz/Beth in a gripping story of adult life with struggles related to her love life, her career, and her mental health. The official If/Then soundtrack can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify, and can be purchased on iTunes.
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