"What If?" A Track-by-Track Breakdown of the If/Then Cast Album

By Michael Gioia
05 Jun 2014

Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel
Photo by Joan Marcus

The score of the new musical If/Then, a story about chance and choice written by Pulitzer winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, is up for this year's Best Original Score Tony Award. Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia breaks down the show's cast album track by track.

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Idina Menzel, who skyrocketed to superstardom via the Oscar-winning animated film "Frozen" — in which she sings the now-iconic "Let It Go" — is back on Broadway for the first time since her Tony-winning turn in Wicked. She reunites with original Rent co-star Anthony Rapp to sing a new score by Tony and Pulitzer-winning Next to Normal writers Kitt and Yorkey, and the cast album has finally hit shelves.

Playbill.com takes you through each track of the exciting new score, which was released this week and features Rapp and Menzel — along with an array of other acclaimed vocalists — on a recording together for the first time since 1996.



Read up on If/Then's tunes, and "tune" in this Sunday to see how the show fares at this year's Tonys, which will be broadcast live on CBS beginning at 8 PM. Don't forget to follow Playbill on Twitter and Facebook (as well as Michael Gioia, who will be on this year's red carpet) for all of your Tony coverage!

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"Prologue"

Well, it's the prologue, and it's short — even shorter than the prologue for Kitt and Yorkey's Next to Normal, which clocked in at 27 seconds, compared to the 25 seconds for If/Then.

"What If?"

The story begins in "What If?," where Idina Menzel's character, Elizabeth, is split in two: "Liz" (as Kate refers to her), who stays in the park for coffee and guitar music, and "Beth" (as nicknamed by Lucas), who travels to Brooklyn for a street action. The catchy opening number, though a bit confusing out of context, sets up the story and is a strong start for Menzel (skip to 3:15: "What if I'd gone there with Lucas? And then what if I answered that phone?" — between the Yorkey's smart lyrics and Menzel's riff on "that phone," the listener is already invested and re-evaluating all of his or her life choices.)

"It's a Sign"

One word: LaChanze. In the second track, we are so happy that Elizabeth decided to hang with LaChanze's character, Kate, first. LaChanze is serving the listener with belting, riffing and sass, and her last note at 2:57 will have you replaying the ending over and over again.

"A Map of New York"

In the fourth song on the album, Jerry Dixon's character, Stephen, asks Elizabeth to join forces with him for a new urban planning job, and we finally get to hear some of the unique voices of the If/Then ensemble. (Look out for standout voices in Ryann Redmond at 1:21 and Tamika Lawrence at 1:33!)

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