Chatting About Broadway's Aladdin, If/Then, and Violet

Hey bookworms!

Some of you out there are like me, and huge fans of musicals. While I love going to a show, I haven't been to one in a couple of years. It's always so weird for me to go into NYC for bookish events and not see a show, but there's never enough time!

This past week, I spent a few days in NYC on vacation with two friends and we saw three shows. Yes, three! I got great discount deals on two of them ( is your best friend for good deals!) and only had to pay regular price for one (Since, you know, Disney never discounts!).

I figured that today, I would chat about all three productions and give you a little mini-review of each.

Whether you're planning a trip to NYC, seeing a touring show or school production of these in the future, or merely want to go out and buy the Original Broadway Cast Recording (OBCR) to listen to, here are my personal thoughts about each show!


I'm a huge Disney girl, but Aladdin was probably my least favorite of the three shows I saw last week.  I've seen every Disney show on Broadway (except  Tarzan), and I would say that Aladdin and Mary Poppins are my two least favorites. My favorite thing about seeing Disney movies brought to life is discovering new songs and wishing they had animated sequences in the movies.  For example, "If I Can't Love Her" and "Home" from Beauty and the Beast, "Shadowlands" and "Endless Night" from The Lion King, and "Her Voice" and "If Only" from The Little Mermaid". (We won't get started on how "Human Again" and "The Morning Report" were chosen for new animated sequences when certain movies were released on DVD a few years ago over these songs...) With Aladdin, there were no standouts, not even the highly anticipated "Proud of Your Boy." That disappointed me most of all because I always adore finding new Disney gems.

That said, Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie and I loved seeing it visually brought to life.  The costumes are great and really help make the story believable. I'm of two minds in regard to the show's book. On the one hand, it's really, really cool that the musical fused the movie adaptation with the concept that never made it into the movie. We get to see Aladdin's friends, etc, and hear a lot of discarded songs.  How often do you get to see an early draft restored?  On the other hand, the final product is much tighter. The draft was cleaned up and retooled for a reason.  There is no new magic brought to the story. In fact, the big climax just putters and stalls. Where is the epic battle? I don't want to blink and have it be over! I also didn't like how frequently Genie pandered to the audience. I get separating yourself from Robin Williams, but I want to fall into the story, not be pulled out of it because you're talking to ME and not ALADDIN, you know? Maybe I would have felt differently with James Monroe Iglehart in the role rather than his understudy Michael James Scott, since he won a Tony for the role, but who knows?

I was a bit disappointed, but I still thought there were great visuals, and I don't regret going to see it. I would do it all over again!
...Well, maybe on a day when I wouldn't have an understudy...!

Sidenote: The entire cast is very gracious and came out the stage door! They signed both my Playbill and my libretto. We met every principle actor save for Jafar (who may have come out later, but it was late and we were tired, so we left!).


If/Then was actually my favorite show of the week! From the very beginning, it gave me the shivers with its talk about fate and chance. One small decision can irrevocably change your life forever, in ways both good and bad.

I've heard a lot of mixed things about this show, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was created by the same crew who brought us the fantastic musical Next to Normal, and I was excited to see something new from them. I was also thrilled to once again see Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp live. Rapp is out recovering from knee surgery for a while, but Menzel was in full glory and reigned supreme. She carries this show and is almost always on stage. She must be drained when she goes home each night!

If/Then can be a hard show to like. A lot of people don't get it and have called it a mess.  At intermission, I heard people talk about how confusing the two timelines were and how they couldn't keep characters straight. I heard an elderly gentleman complain about the main character's decision to have a one night stand and another one upset over a gay couple. My one friend thought that we understood and GOT the show because of the type of books/media we read/watch. Whatever the reason, the messages are great and really made me think. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this show.

I also think  listening to the OBCR on its own can confuse people. I heard the music before I saw the show and didn't always get when the two timelines of Elizabeth's possible lives were changing. I also didn't realize how much I adored her best friend Kate. All of Kate's best lines are delivered through dialogue. She's such a spunky character and I loved "meeting" her through seeing the show live!

Sidenote: I really wanted to see an evening performance of this so we could go see everyone at the stagedoor after the show,  but I could only get three Aladdin tickets semi-close to one another during the evening timeslot. We had to do a matinee, which meant we wouldn't see Idina Menzel for sure.  We did get to see James Snyder who played Josh, though, and that made me happy because I love his character!


Violet is one of those shows I always wanted to see, but never thought I would. I bought the original recording of the Off-Broadway production after listening to Caroline, or Change when it came out a few years ago and wanting to discover more shows by composer Jeanine Tesori after realizing she'd also brought the music of Thoroughly Modern Millieto life.

The show was long-closed, however, and I didn't think it would every get a big second chance. When I heard that it would be a Roundabout production AND that one of my all-time favorite performers, Sutton Foster, would be headlining, it became this season's Must-See show for me!

It's another show that isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed it! It's also at the end of its limited run, and I'm glad I had a chance to see it before it closed!

Sidenote: I've seem quite a few shows with Sutton Foster now, but I don't always get to see her at the stagedoor. She came out this time, though, and she was absolutely lovely to chat with. Plus, we got to see her adorable dog, too!  Love her!


  1. There is a chance that my husband and I are going to be able to go on vacation next month, and if we do, I want to see a musical. It's been a long time since I've seen a Broadway show or seen a musical, so do you have any tips? Like, tips on what musical to pick when you have a lot of options and only time for one show?

    Sara Welsh |!about/cfvg


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