Thursday, May 19, 2016

If/Then The Musical at The Straz Review

On Tuesday night, Nanci, my bestie invited me to attend the showing of If/Then The Musical at the Straz center in Tampa. Nanci was given the opportunity through her working with The Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz center, I was extremely happy to go along and be her plus one. Even though I was given the opportunity through Nanci, my opinions are all my own.

If/Then is a Musical centered around the life of Elizabeth, who moves to New York City to start a new, after her most recent divorce. She moves to NYC knowing her old friend Lucas, who was played by Anthony Rapp. Which we might know him most famously from his role in RENT, which I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in on Broadway when I was in High School. Upon Elizabeth's arrival to NYC, she meets a new friend name Kate. Kate is this vibrant, loud spoken, outgoing, crazy fun neighbor, whom the moment she stepped out on stage I instantly knew I was going to love her role in the play.

From the first scene to the intermission to the end, I was constantly engulfed with how much I loved this play. The tale of Elizabeth's life is told through two different story lines. One where she is Beth. Beth's life is all about business and her career and maybe  not making the best choices. Beth's life shows what her life would be like if she never met a solider named Josh. How her life changed in one instant when she took a phone call. Beth's life was about moving up the corporate ladder, finding her way, not really enjoying life, making mistakes. All because she took one step per say in a different direction.

Then as the audience we watch as it splits to Liz, still the same character, but what if she went a different direction and she decided to not answer the phone. She went another way and met Josh, the solider. Liz's life was vastly different, it was raw and honest and happy. Liz got everything she wanted out of life on the Liz side, even heartache, but wouldn't change it for the world, because it gave her so much more. A family, kids and a love that would last a lifetime.

The two split story lines was something I had not experienced before in a play and I thought was done extremely well. At first it was a bit tricky to grasp on, but once the cast of character began to identify it became clear and clearer.

The beauty of this musical was not only were the main characters, Kate and Josh portrayed of what it and then, but their friends Lucas and Kate too. And how their lives were forever impacted and changed because of one decision. It show cased their own love lives and how one person you associate with brings so much. I know I have people in my life like that too. If I didn't go to college where I did, my best friend never would have moved in PA and eventually find the love her life, her husband and her soul mate. It's funny how one little thing can impact so many other lives, without even really meaning too.

It is funny because I had thought about this same parallel in my own life recently. I choose to live in Florida 7 years ago, on a whim. James lived down here, I had visited and just knew this is why I needed to be. If James and I had never met in college, if I had never applied to Keystone College, one of the only 3 colleges I applied too, we would have never had met and my life here in Florida with him, would never had started.

I wouldn't have been working at Things Remembered or meeting friends like Nanci. I am so grateful that my If/Then story is more like Liz's in the fact, I followed my heart and took a chance, despite being scared and not knowing what would happen.

The music in If/Then is amazing. The songs What The Fuck, Here I Go, and Always Starting Over were my favorites. Always Starting Over had me in instant tears. I cried several times during the second act. Bring tissues, especially when Liz signs Always Starting Over, I can not say that enough, it is raw and with just her and the stage and some twinkle lights, it instantly moves you.

The ending was absolutely perfect and I felt like I couldn't clap loud enough for the performance I had just scene. I love leaving a musical and you are still floating on air from what you just witnessed and the message is so deep, it has you thinking about your own life and If/Then's.

Would you change anything if you could? What if there was one moment in your life, if you went another way, which would be better?

I believe in Fate and Signs and this musical brought that all together.

Do yourself a big favor and see this musical. It is running at the Straz through May 22nd.

This is something you do not want to miss out on seeing!