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4.7 out of 5 stars23
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2014
Idina Menzel is one of Broadway’s greatest stars, and a personal favourite of mine. Whether you know her from Rent, Wicked, Glee or Frozen, she is one of those performers who draw you in with their power. So when I heard that she would return to Broadway to star in another original show, I was beyond excited. My excitement only grew when I heard this new show was created by the same people behind Next To Normal, and that Anthony Rapp would once again share the stage with Miss Menzel.

I have not seen the actual show, and will not be able to, as I live in Europe. Instead, I sat down with the cast recording and the booklet. The booklet is essential reading, as the story splits into two, and you have to follow two different storylines. You cannot just listen to the songs and expect to understand the story. As such, I listened to one song after the other while constantly returning to the summary in the booklet. I recommend using this approach for your first listen, because it is easy to get lost in the two stories.

The story is centered around Elizabeth, who is starting her life over. Her friends suggest that a new start warrants a new name. One friend suggests Beth, the other Liz. From there, a simple decision of whether to follow her friend Lucas or stay with her friend Kate, splits the story into two: Beth goes with Lucas, while Liz stays with Kate. The same people appear in each story, but tiny events lead different things to happen.

Personally, I like the concept and how it unfolds, and I absolutely adore the music. After that first listen where all my attention went to figuring out when Beth is the one singing, as opposed to Liz, and when the Lucas in Beth’s story is singing, as opposed to the Lucas in Liz’s story – when all of those things were settled in my mind, I couldn’t stop replaying the tunes. Over and over again. It’s been a month since the release, and I still can’t stop playing it, humming it and thinking about it. Personal favourites include “What If?”, “Ain’t No Man Manhattan”, “No More Wasted Time”, “Some Other Me”, “Best Worst Mistake”, “I Hate You”, “You Learn To Live Without”, “Love While You Can”, and “Always Starting Over”. Whether you focus on Liz & Josh, Beth & Lucas, Lucas & David, or Kate & Anne, there’s plenty of heart to go around. And heartbreak for that matter. I smiled, laughed, and cried while listening, and the beautiful lyrics truly makes you think. Everything is done with both brains and heart.

I approached this musical because of my love for Next To Normal and Idina Menzel, and then became mesmerized with the story, the music, and the performances that touch you deeply even if you, like me, haven’t seen the show performed. So whether you are considering this recording for the same reasons I did, or simply because you are a fan of musicals and have heard about this new original show, I urge you not to hesitate – go and buy it immediately! You won’t be sorry.
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on 13 July 2014
If you've ever seen the film Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, this is basically that in a musical. It's an absolutely stunning show, I saw it on Broadway last month & haven't stopped listening to it since! It's funny, clever and emotional - everyone will find something in it that they can identify with because, despite the dual storylines, it's about real life. I really recommend it if you're into musical theatre. My personal favourite songs are Ain't No Man Manhattan, Always Starting Over, Some Other Me & You Learn to Live Without.
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on 19 July 2014
Love this Musical cd. Haven't seen the stage show but the musical is so catchy and I have been playing it a lot. Word of warning to all mum's with young children though, there are a lot of swear words in the songs in this musical with the F word and S word being mentioned a lot so put that in mind if you have young children but this is a fab musical cd and I love the catchy songs.
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on 25 October 2014
Just got back from seeing this amazing cast in New York! Brilliant music and lyrics. Idina (as always) picks the winners. I loved the story and the emotional roller coaster you go on when listening to this album. "Starting over" is my fave! Buy it now :)
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on 9 January 2015
The music is far superior to the story, and the story is pretty good.
Saw it on Broadway last month, and really only appreciating just how brilliantly the lyrics are written now on repeated listens.
The storyline is essentially a modernised "Sliding Doors", but the musical is different to other musicals: much more folk/indie based rather than massive orchestral numbers.
Getting these songs out of your head is tricky, especially as they are so intelligently scripted and composed
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on 6 May 2015
The musical was a total surprise. I had heard a couple of the songs before. Those song put into context were brilliant. It was nice to hear such a talented cast. It is a very clever musical indeed. Idina Menzel is fantastic. She can so tell a story through her magnificent voice. So glad she decided to be an Actress/singer. It was nice to see her reunited with Anthony Rapp who plays a brilliant part. The whole cast support and bring out the story. Hope it comes to England.
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on 11 April 2015
Excellent recording of fresh new musical. Songs are great and at least three must be considered instant classics. Usual top notch vocals from Idina too. Highly recommended, and check out the YouTube videos too.
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on 4 April 2015
I loved my CD of If/Then but was disappointed by the state it arrived in. Thankfully the CD itself was not damaged but the box was in a terrible mess, broken and shattered.
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on 8 October 2014
Nice to have in your collection, although some songs aren't really my taste. It adds to my Idina Menzel collection and as a fan, you should get this!
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on 29 September 2014
I enjoyed it, but as a presenter of a BBC radio programme about musical theatre, am unable to play about a third of the tunes because the language would be deemed inappropriate. This is often a problem with modern day musicals and I would love a playable edit.
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