‘If/Then’ at the Fox Theatre
The musical “If/Then” takes a look at what life might have looked like had Elizabeth (Jackie Burns) chosen one boyfriend over the other. If she had gone with one, then this would have happened. If she had chosen the other, then this would have happened.
Recently divorced and in her late twenties, Elizabeth has moved from Arkansas to Manhattan where she meets in the park her new girlfriend, Kate (Tamyra Gray), and old college sweetheart, Lucas (Anthony Rapp). Kate tries to fix Elizabeth up with the guy nearby playing guitar, but Lucas beckons his old love interest to leave with him. She ponders her choices. Just after she chooses Lucas, Josh (Matthew Hydzik), a handsome man dressed in military fatigues, says he just got back from deployment, feels like he knows her and asks for her phone number.
We then see Elizabeth’s life unfold in two ways: one, had she chosen Lucas and two, had she chosen Josh. Her romantic partners step in and out of scenes so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with the story. When she’s with Josh, she’s called Liz. With Lucas, she’s called Beth. One moment she’s Lucas’s girlfriend; the next moment she’s Josh’s. In the first act, the scenes with Elizabeth and Josh have passion and excitement, but most of the scenes with other characters leave much to be desired. Lucas forms a romance with David (Marc DeLacruz) and Kate hooks up with Anne (Janine DiVita), but I have no feeling for any of them. No excitement. No dislike. I sit in my seat waiting for something to happen. I wait. I wait some more.
Hydzik and Burns pick me up with their beautiful voices. She is a booming powerhouse, and he melted my heart on more than one song.
In the second act, the intensity and excitement between Josh and Liz fades. In each scene there is something new that happens, but almost none of it makes me sit forward in my chair. I want to care about the play’s characters, especially when they’re in danger, but I don’t. The script falls flat. As someone else so aptly put it, the stakes aren’t high enough. In most scenes it appears that if this happens, then so what.
Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, music by Tom Kitt, directed by Michael Greif, “If/Then” runs through Aug. 14 at the Fox Theatre.
Jacques C. Smith, English Bernhardt, Charissa Bertels, Xavier Cano, Kyra Faith, Corey Greenhan, Cliffton Hall, Alicia Taylor Tomasko, Tyler McGee, DeeDee Magno Hall