In New York City, Broadway stars like Idina Menzel perform a rigorous schedule of eight shows a week and this particular star has consistently had her name on the top of the music charts. If you haven’t heard her name, you have most certainly heard her voice in the highest-grossing animated film of all time, Frozen.
Idina Menzel, the majestic voice of Elsa the Snow Queen and singer of the world-famous Let It Go has her name, along with an entire cast of Broadway veterans, up on the music charts once again. This time Menzel is recognized for her work in the original New York City cast recording of the new Broadway musical, If/Then.
The If/Then soundtrack sold 15,000 copies within the first week of its release, earning it a spot at No. 19 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. The last Broadway musical to accomplish such a feat was the original cast recording of Rent in 1996 which also debuted at No. 19. For all of you musical theatre fanatics, you will know that Ms. Menzel also starred as the vivacious Maureen Johnson in the original cast of Rent and has her wicked vocals featured in a number of songs on the show’s soundtrack.
Incidentally, Menzel stars in If/Then alongside an original Rent co-star, Anthony Rapp. Rapp played Mark Cohen in the 1996 production and is featured on both musicals’ soundtracks alongside Menzel. In addition to the reunion of these two performers, the original director of Rent, Tony Nominee – Michael Greif, has also taken the reins as director of If/Then. From the results that have been garnered, one could say the assembly of this little Broadway family is nothing short of a recipe for success.
The story of If/Then follows the life of Elizabeth Vaughan (played by Menzel), a newly divorced woman on the brink of turning 40 who moves to New York City to begin a new life for herself. Elizabeth meets up with her two friends, Kate (Tony-Winner, LaChanze) and Lucas (Anthony Rapp) in the middle of Madison Square Park. The plot thickens when Kate suggest that Elizabeth starts using the name “Liz” for her fresh start and to discover new experiences within the city. Lucas suggests the opposite, asking Elizabeth to start going by her old nickname, “Beth”, and begin establishing a professional career by networking and making new connections. The remainder of the show reveals what happens when “Liz” stays in the park with Kate and when “Beth” decides to go with Lucas – the two possible outcomes of Elizabeth’s new life. An original and intriguing plot line, tying perfectly in with the theme of the title: the “If/Then” effect.
The creative process took many years to get the show to the top of the charts and to where it is today on Broadway, but the blood, sweat and tears resulted in high praise from New York City critics, a Tony Nomination for Best Original Score, and a third Tony Nomination for star Idina Menzel for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Menzel was nominated for her first Tony as a featured actress in a musical for her work in Rent in 1996 and her first Tony win was in 2003 for originating the role of the misunderstood, green-skinned witch, Elphaba in the world-renown musical phenomenon, Wicked. Menzel unfortunately lost out to Jessie Mueller, the star of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical for her 2014 nomination, but gave a show-stopping performance of her 11 o’clock number from If/Then, Always Starting Over, at the awards show on June 8.
Menzel is widely known for her voiceover work in the Oscar-Winning animated feature, Frozen. Her portrayal as Elsa and interpretation of one of the most popular songs of the year, Let It Go additionally earned the song an Oscar and a spot at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She is the first Tony winner in the acting category ever to acquire a top 10 single. The Frozen soundtrack also continues to reign as 2014’s top-selling album with nearly 3 million copies sold to date.
Though Idina Menzel has reigned in New York City as a renown star of Broadway for quite some time, she is, undoubtably, pleased with the chart-topping results of her new show. Copies of of the If/Then soundtrack can be downloaded on iTunes or Amazon today as well as the many aforementioned musical soundtracks of Menzel’s. If/Then is currently playing on Broadway eight times a week.
By Cody Collier