If you've ever had second thoughts, doubted yourself or believe in universal signs, East Carolina University’s spring musical “If/Then” is the perfect way to spend your Tuesday night.
The romantic comedy, directed by Michael Tahaney, follows the newfound life of Elizabeth, portrayed by Kennedy Young, and the decisions she makes along the way, ultimately leading her down the road of choosing between two distinctive paths.
Elizabeth, just recently divorced from a drag of a 12 year marriage, moves back to her hometown of New York City hoping to start anew. Scrapping herself from the dry land of Phoenix, Arizona, Elizabeth indecisively finds herself choosing between not only who to purse her love life with, but if she should even take a new job offer as a housing director in the big city.
No audience member would ever question if Young was a suitable fit for this role, she perfectly captures the personality of Elizabeth, insecure and unsure, constantly seeming on edge from every decision thrown at her, whether it be in her love life or her work life. Vocally, she was able to challenge herself with the more difficult pieces toward the end of the performance, showcasing her abilities.
Drew Wells took on the role of one of Elizabeth's “oldest friends” from college, Lucas, who just so happens to be her ex-boyfriend, pre-divorce. Wells captures the essence of that one person who always finds a way to sneak back into your life and for some reason, you just let it happen. Just as he is hung up on Elizabeth from back then, he seems to be stuck in his college days. Screaming 2012 hipster, Wells does an amazing job of locking in this character and portraying it as one of his own.
Brandi Campbell performing as Elizabeth's best friend, Kate, is someone who I personally wish I would have saw more of on stage. Spunky and strong minded, Campbell hilariously introduces us to the elementary school teacher we all wish we had. With the help of her girlfriend, Anna, throughout the musical she is continuously trying to set up Elizabeth with a new man. Connecting with Young on stage, the two have great chemistry between each other.
Micah Simmons, as Josh, coincidentally keeps running into Elizabeth until she finally accepts his plead for “just one date.” Arriving back from his deployment in the Army, Josh is picking up where he left off, back in the surgeon room. Originally joining the military to pay off medical school, he finds himself returning home to not only save lives, but making it harder on Elizabeth to navigate hers.
I know what your thinking, soldier and surgeon? This guy does sound like the total package deal, and Simmons captures that “dreamy man” persona without even trying.
A tremendous amount of work was not only put in from the cast, but also by the set design of this musical. From flashy city skylines to fog machines, the essence of New York City is perfectly captured with people from all different walks of life present in each scene.
Overall, “If/Then” is your typical fun, loving romantic comedy. Set in the city, confused about making all the wrong decisions, the cast relates to us about how it really feels going through life's everyday choices and how difficult it can be.
RATING -- 4 out of 5 stars