Life, Love and Luck in Greendale Community Theatre's 'If/Then'
Greendale Community Theatre explores parallel lives of a single woman in its production of the contemporary musical If/Then. Young actress Kat Geertsen plays Elizabeth: a 38-year-old who has moved back to New York to try to start her life over. She is a very analytical person who obsesses over decisions she might have made. These thoughts cascade out in different timelines that alternate over the course of a satisfyingly engrossing, two-act exploration into the nature of life, love and luck.
We see Elizabeth’s life play out in duplicate. As “Beth,” she takes a fateful phone call and becomes a professionally successful official working in the city planners’ office. As “Liz,” she misses a fateful phone call and becomes an activist who ends up in a deeply emotional romantic relationship with a guy named Josh.
Travis Ulrich is solidly charming as a man who follows his heart. He is contrasted against Stephen, Elizabeth’s old friend from college who she ends up working with for the city planners’ office in the other timeline. David Starry plays Stephen with passion and subtly conflicted emotional ambiguity that make for a clever contrast with Ulrich.
There’s a balance in the script between the two halves of Elizabeth that threatens to undermine the messy emotional complexities of life that the plot is exploring. Director Amber Smith has finessed the mood, pacing and dramatic emphasis of the musical in a way that manages to somehow amplify the complexities of the script without compromising the story’s overall balance. Every scene feels satisfying enough to be its own end in an engrossing two-act drama.
Through Jul. 29 at the Greendale High School Auditorium, 6801 Southway. For tickets, visit greendaletheater.org.