If/Then

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Starlight Theatre is having a run of the musical “If/Then” this week.  We went and saw it Tuesday night, the opening night.

We began the evening with the Best of Broadway Applause dinner club. For once there was nothing to comment on, a little slow getting us our drinks at the beginning, but the food and service were good — the Waldorf salad was what I thought one should be this time, too. My lingering observation is that they seem to have a small crowd dining, fewer than when they were catered by area restaurants. They still need to build more momentum.

Then came the show. The concept was an interesting one. Woman moves back to NYC after leaving her husband of a decade, meets two friends, and then we see what happens when she follows two different paths, based on the recommends of the two friends.

To follow which IF you were getting, one role wore glasses, the other didn’t. Even then it got confusing, and there were a couple of scenes where the glasses weren’t correct.

The plot and songs elicited some good laughs from us, but didn’t leave us with any tunes to sing. This is one of those set in NYC musicals where NYC is the center of the world, is the world, and the character’s struggle is paramount, and they have all these blasty ballad songs about their struggles and strivings that are like all the other shows with the blasty ballads that laud the struggle of the main character.

Beyond that, the whole plot revolves around cultural assumptions that just don’t ring true to me from “fly-over” country, assumptions about NYC, and assumptions about how relationships work, the role of women and men, etc. It was enjoyable, but I couldn’t avoid recognizing the underlying PC pablum of the plot.

So it was worth a watch, excellent plot construction based on the initial premise of life choices, but ultimately the choices were all fairytales instead of ones that rang true to life. I don’t need to go back and see it again.

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