I was fortunate enough to go to 'Menopause The Musical' this weekend and I enjoyed a laughingly good time.
Before the show even began the producer, Mark Zimmerman, came onstage and asked if any audience member would be willing to share an antidote about their experience with menopause and if so, they would be rewarded for their fearlessness. One woman up on a second tier balcony close to where I was sitting stood up and shared that it was the unpredictability of her moods that most annoyed her, although she added the hot flashes were also bothersome. For her trouble, Mr. Zimmerman promised her a Menopod, an invention from an Ontario couple that recently was on Dragon's Den and won a deal with Arlene Dickenson (although it was later rejected by the entrepreneurs as not occurring at the right time). The Menopod is a computer mouse shaped device that cools down a woman suffering through hot flashes and has gained international sales and attention. It retails in Canada for $229.99 so this woman's fearlessness was generously rewarded.
As you can imagine, the majority of the audience was comprised of women in their 40's and 50's. There were a few brave men there but they were greatly outnumbered, although undoubtedly learned a thing or two about the silent passage.
The loose plot is simply four women of a certain age who meet during a sale at Bloomingdale's in New York City and form a bond over hot flashes and mood swings. These characteristics are explored and celebrated throughout the brief 90 minute play.
The characters and actresses who portrayed them were:
Iowa Housewife, played by Janet Martin
Earth Mother, played by Nicole Robert
Professional Woman, played by Michelle E. White
Soap Star, played by Cherie Price
All the performers were fabulous although I most enjoyed the singing of Michelle E. White, especially her Tina Turner impersonation which was spot on and had me in stitches.
It is called a musical for a very good reason and that is that most of the time, apart from a few lines of dialogue that deftly transitioned between songs, the talented performers sing popular songs from the 50's and 60's with the lyrics changed to suit the theme. For example, they sing "In the guest room or on the sofa, my husband sleeps tonight" to the tune of 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight, "My thigh" are the lyrics changed from that great Smokey Robinson song 'My Guy' and "I'm not a babe" instead of 'I Got You Babe' which was the original Sonny and Cher tune and addressed the menopausal women's relationships with their mothers.
Most aspects of menopause were paid tribute to including the above mentioned mood swings, hot flashes along with weight gain, self-satisfaction (aka the use of vibrators), and memory loss. For the most part, these symptoms of the change were treated lightly and humorously and nothing in the entire performance was too serious.
The ending was excellent, especially when the cast members went out into the audience and called for women who have gone through the change to join them in celebration onstage. Those who did were rewarded for their courage with a small pin to commemorate the occasion. I left with sore abs from laughing and a happy feeling of sisterhood which left me smiling, as did this t-shirt (pictured below) which I picked up from the merchandise table outside the theatre.
If Menopause The Musical comes to a town near you, I would recommend it if you like musicals, laughter and female camaraderie.