Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/10/2013
Photo: Joan Marcus
It'll be a Rent reunion on Broadway this winter when director Michael Greif reunites Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp, two of the original cast members from groundbreaking musical that debuted in 1996 and played for over a decade. Instead of playing bohemian downtown New York City twentysomethings, the actors are now portraying fortysomethings (or near fortysomethings) with careers, the protagonists in Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's new musical If/Then. In her first role since her Tony-winning turn as the green-faced witch Elphaba in Wicked, Menzel plays Elizabeth, a recent divorcée who, after living in Phoenix, moves back to NYC to start over. The musical traces two separate paths Elizabeth (as Liz and as Beth, in the alternating storylines) could take, and the difficult choices and compromises that come with each. One path veers more toward prioritizing family, and the other toward work. Rapp plays her sexually confused ex-lover and good friend. It may sound a bit complicated (and from the reviews and word of mouth from its Washington, DC, pre-Broadway tryout, it is), but Kitt and Yorkey know a thing or two about how to make nontraditional subject matter for musical theater work. Their 2009 musical Next to Normal—about a middle-aged woman suffering from bipolar disorder—won a few Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama, so rest assured this post-Rent comeback is in good hands.
Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St. Previews start March 5; opens March 27.