Review of If/Then at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN

Quote of the Day: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood first line to Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken.

We are faced with choices all day long, some small and with little consequence, like “It’s Sunday afternoon and I could either take a nap or a walk.” (The nap usually wins.) Or, big, giant decisions like where to go to college, spend your vacation, or when to end a relationship, or not. If/Then a modern and poignant musical written by Brian Yorkey and Music by Tom Kitt examines the two different paths that Beth/Liz can take after leaving her husband and rediscovering herself. 

Review of If/Then at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN

Carl Swanson as Lucas, Kate Beahen as Elizabeth, Elinor Strandskov as Kate in Lyric Arts production of If/Then. Photos courtesy of Lyric Arts

The above picture is from the opening scene where Beth/Liz is faced with her first decision in her new life, whether to go with new friend Kate or her old friend Lucas. The rest of the show flips back and forth between what could have happened if she’d chosen the other path. With the use of lighting, sound, and subtle costume changes, we watch the stories flip in and out like a choose your own adventure novel.

Review of If/Then at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN

Carl Swanson as Lucas, Kate Beahen as Elizabeth, and Austin Lewis as Josh in Lyric Arts production of If/Then, photo courtesy of Lyric Arts.

Kate Beahen is spectacular as Beth/Liz. She easily moves between both sides of her character, playing out each story line and relationship. She has a phenomenal voice giving depth and nuance to her solos with full emotional and vocal range. Brava! Carl Swanson plays Lucas, her best friend, and sometime lover. He also has more than one path to choose. I found him funny, sweet, complex, and likable. Elinor Strandskov (Kate) has a powerful voice and a strong presence. She has some great lines and solos, and her voice blew me away. She and her companion Anne, played by Jacleen Olson, create a great relational dynamic. The entire cast is wonderful, many of them playing several characters, with much energy and strong vocals. The staging gave you a sense of being in NYC. You can even come up and buy an ice cream treat from the street vendor before the show starts!

Review of If/Then at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN

Cast of If/Then playing at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN through September 23, 2018. Photo courtesy of Lyric Arts

It was a treat to see this performance with my son who is in his mid-20’s. We were celebrating my Birthday (thank you, Amy, at Lyric Arts!). We were experiencing the show from two different perspectives, me having made several major choices and life changes in my 51 years, and him just starting down that road as an adult. We both enjoyed the show and talked about it afterwards. The best shows leave you asking yourself questions, pondering what you experienced, and wanting to share it with others. If you get a chance to see this show, then you’ll know what I mean. 

Elena Giannetti has done a wonderful job directing this complex show. Mary Cay Stone is the music director, and the musicians were marvelous. All of the technical elements add to the show and help you keep track of which story line you’re following, Liz or Beth. It’s an all around excellent production. You can see If/Then the musical at Lyric Arts in Anoka, MN through September 23, 2018. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: Where would you go if you found yourself forging a new path in life?