"Defying Gravity". "Let it go". "Always Starting Over".
"Adele Mazeem" has been one of my favorite Broadway singers for a while, and I was so happy to be able to see Idina Menzel's new show, If/Then. It was amazing-musically, emotionally, artistically.
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First, the music is great. While I think Wicked had a few clunker songs (am I the only one who skips anything with the townspeople singing?), each song in If/then has its own charms. If you're trying to get a flavor of the show, check out "No Man in Manhattan" and "Always Starting Over". Any of the other songs can get spoiler-y really fast!
Without giving too much away, the show follows a woman moving back to NYC after a failed marriage. On her first day back, she makes a seemingly small decision to either listen to a guitarist or go to a protest...Along with the message of choices, If/then is about the influence of your friends on your life. I appreciated a real lack of judgment about which choice (career or personal life) is better.
Finally, Idina is a huge part of the show, and gives her all in person and the cast recording. When I was in highschool, I stood in line for hours to see her at a book store signing of her CD. It was supposed to be a relatively small "welcome back to your hometown" event, but there were hundreds of rabid fans waiting to speak to her. (I actually ended up having a great conversation about Broadway shows with the guy in front of me!) Idina came out, took one look, and headed back. The look on her face was pure terror, "how am i going to handle this?!". It was crazy to me that this woman, who performed in front of a thousand people a night, could be scared of people she knew were fans!
Now, I guess, it's relatively well known in Broadway circles that she has a few stage fright issues. For her audition for Wicked, she messed up the big note at the end. She was so angry with herself for blowing the audition that she demanded a second choice to sing it again. Idina knocked it out of the park, and the rest is history. What had seemed at the time to be a fatal mistake was what nabbed her the role.
This past weekend, Idina seemed to have conquered her fears: "Always Starting Over" was a standout of the 2014 Tony's. Check out the performance here