PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
The poet Robert Frost knew all about crossroads and the paths less taken. As mere humans we often have trouble with decision making, especially when it involves choices that may have lasting repercussions for the future. Come meet Elizabeth who faces such dilemmas and the uncertainty they entail. She will be on the cusp of many choices and changes until Sunday, August 7 as the Bushnell Center for the performing Arts presents “If/THEN.” With music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, this new musical will introduce Elizabeth who morphs into Liz and Beth so she can exercise double her possibilities about life. If you have trouble deciding which ice cream flavors to choose, you will understand how Elizabeth can be paralyzed by which road to travel.
Her marriage of a dozen years in Phoenix has ended and now she has returned to New York City to pick up the pieces of her life. Will she be cautious or impetuous, a free spirit or a conservative pragmatist? Will her chance meeting with a new friend Kate help her on her journey? How will her new next door neighbor Lucas influence her choices? Will reestablishing a relationship with her old activist friend Josh, a soldier she meets in the park or will her new city planner Steve make the biggest changes happen
The premise is you never know what will happen to you, if you turn right at the corner instead of left, if you take one job or another. The fact that life is never a straight line causes Elizabeth's dual personas to engage in twists and turns that complicate and color her worlds. Which job should she accept? Which man will she love? She confesses, "I get lost in what might be."
This beautiful and powerful play soars to glorious heights with such songs, verging on operatic, like "It's a Sign," "You Never Know," " Here I Go," "Man Up," "Surprise," "What If" and "What Would You Do?.” This compelling journey is stuffed with sensitivity and skill on a set design of mirrored ceiling that reflects wonder and charm.
For tickets ($25.50 - 88.50), call The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue , Hartford at 860- 987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org. Performances are Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Whether you believe in fate or life's grand design, you'll enjoy traveling Robert Frost's less known paths as the parallel lives cross and intersect.