By Matthew Blank
and Joseph Marzullo
31 Mar 2014
Next to Normal and Rent director Michael Greif helms the production that played an out-of-town tryout at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. last fall. Produced by David Stone (Wicked, Next to Normal), If/Then began Broadway previews March 5.
If/Then has music by Kitt, with book and lyrics by Yorkey. The writers earned the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for penning Next to Normal. An original Broadway cast recording will be released June 3.
The cast boasts Menzel (Wicked, Rent, "Frozen"), Tony Award winner LaChanze (The Color Purple, Once on This Island), Anthony Rapp (Rent), James Snyder (Cry-Baby), Jerry Dixon (tick, tick…Boom!, Once on This Island), Jenn Colella (Chaplin, High Fidelity), Jason Tam (A Chorus Line, Lysistrata Jones) and Tamika Lawrence (Matilda).
"Art is literally imitating life for me," confessed Menzel, who plays the central role of Elizabeth, a woman on the cusp of 40, who returns to New York City to start fresh. "Without going into my personal life too much, I'm definitely going through some major personal things and have to rethink all of the choices I've made and think about starting over...
"Sometimes, it's probably too close to home," she continued. "I [have to] just focus on the make-believe and the fiction, so I can serve the piece better, but it's just funny how the universe brings things into your life, so that you can either learn from it or have some way of expressing what you're going through — a place to express that [and] people to support you. I find it pretty uncanny."
Also featured are Joe Cassidy (Working), Miguel Cervantes (American Idiot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Curtis Holbrook (West Side Story, Xanadu), Stephanie Klemons (In The Heights), Tyler McGee (Ghost), Ryann Redmond (Bring It On), Joe Aaron Reid (Catch Me If You Can), Ann Sanders (Leap of Faith), Jackie Burns (Hair, Wicked), Marc de la Cruz (Allegiance), Charles Hagerty (Wicked), Janet Krupin (Hands on a Hardbody) and Pearl Sun (Next to Normal).
If/Then has choreography by Larry Keigwin, set design by Tony Award nominee Mark Wendland (Next to Normal, The Merchant of Venice), costume design by Emily Rebholz (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), lighting design by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner (Kinky Boots, Wicked) and sound design by Tony Award winner Brian Ronan (Next To Normal, The Book of Mormon).
According to the creators, "If/Then is an original musical set at the intersection of choice and chance, where the road you takes meets the road you didn't. Tony Award winner Menzel makes her much-anticipated return to the stage in this contemporary new musical as Elizabeth, a woman rebuilding her life in New York, a city of infinite possibilities."
The Richard Rodgers Theatre is located at 226 West 46th Street. Visit ifthenthemusical.com.