Men are from Mars, women have hot flashes

Men are from Mars, women have hot flashes

“Menopause the Musical” at Victoria Theatre

By Eric Street

Turn on the fans! Hotter than an unexpected hot flash, “Menopause the Musical” is coming to the Victoria Theatre Oct. 12-14 for four steaming performances. Though the subject matter may sound like no laughing matter, Artistic Director Seth Greenleaf begs to differ.

Audiences should expect a lot of hysterical laughter,” Greenleaf said. “‘Menopause the Musical’ is one of the funniest shows out there. I think there are two really funny shows playing right now –‘The Book of Mormon’ and ‘Menopause the Musical.’ Not only is the show funny, but it’s also very healing. Laughter brings healing, and people come, laugh, enjoy the songs and go home feeling better.”

But who goes to see a musical about menopause? “The core audience is mature women, their spouses, families and friends,” Greenleaf said. “The biggest laughs come from anyone who has gone through menopause, is going through menopause or expects to go through menopause.”

The plot is simple – it begins at a lingerie table during a sale at Bloomingdales. Four very different women, all going through the “Change,” skirmish over one lacy black bra and find they have far more in common than just the desire to purchase bargain undergarments: hot flashes, night sweats, and memory loss are all on their list of similarities.

“The author, Jeanie Linders, wrote song parodies as a hobby back in college, songs she would perform with friends,” Greenleaf explained. “When she started going through menopause herself, she suddenly started writing songs on the subject to familiar pop and disco hits. When she had enough for a whole show, she started it in an old beauty salon in Orlando, Fla. People loved it, they told their friends and that was about ten years ago. Since then, 11 million viewers have enjoyed the show.”

The show is extremely powerful, judging by performances of “Menopause the Musical” in over 450 U.S cities and more than 300 international cities. It also draws strength from its familiar music, with new lyrics sung to nostalgia-inducing hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Disco hit “Stayin’ Alive” becomes “Stayin’ Awake,” Motown favorite “My Girl” is transformed into “My Thighs,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” switches to “In the Guest Room or on the Sofa, My Husband Sleeps at Night,” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” becomes the anthem to exercise, “Puff, My God I’m Draggin’.” Also featured are “I’m Flashing,” “Dripping and Dropping,” “Only You” and “Good Vibrations.”

“We’re the longest-running musical production ever in Las Vegas – we’ve been running there seven years now,” added Greenleaf. “It’s really the little show that could. Who would have thought that it would have grown from that tiny show in an old Orlando beauty salon?”

Inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, writer Jeanie Linders created “Menopause the Musical” as a celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived the experience. A note of self-disclosure: some years ago this writer, though not a candidate for menopause, saw a “Menopause the Musical” production in Boston and found the show great fun. So there you have it–while “Menopause the Musical” makes a superb girls night out, it is also male-friendly too, even if the guys won’t join in with the fans that often swarm onstage at the end. They’re still welcome to buy the CD.

“Most women know intuitively that every other woman is experiencing hot flashes or night sweats,“ said Linders. “There is always a close friend or two who can sympathize or identify with her, but when they are sitting in a theatre with hundreds of other women, all laughing and shouting‚ ‘That’s me! That’s me on stage!’ they know what they are experiencing is normal. They aren’t alone … or crazy. It becomes a sisterhood.”

You may recognize at least one of the performers. Megan Cavanagh made her film debut as the baseball player Marla Hooch chronicled in Penny Marshall’s 1992 film “A League of Their Own” with Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell. She followed that early success with roles in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “Dracula: Dead and Loving It.” Cavanagh has also appeared on TV in episodes of “Will and Grace,” “The West Wing” and “Just Shoot Me.” In “Menopause the Musical” she plays the role of the Earth Mother.

Sandy Dewoody, who plays the prim Iowa Housewife, boasts the longest tenure with the show, having played in the musical since the Orlando production in 2003.

“Menopause the Musical” is produced by GFour Productions and it will support the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance with a special $5 donation for each ticket sold using the promo code TEAL. The TEAL code is good on any full-price ticket in any city on the summer/fall 2012 tour. Additionally, GFour Productions will donate the net proceeds from the sale of their “hot flash fans” sold in the theater lobby prior to each performance. Funds raised through the partnership will benefit ovarian cancer education and support programs provided by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and its 61 national Partner Members.

“Menopause the Musical” will be playing at the Victoria Theatre from Oct. 12-14. Tickets are on sale at the Ticket Center Stage Box Office located in the Wintergarden of the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, by phone at (937) 228-3630 or toll free at (937) 228-3630 and online at www.ticketcenterstage.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Eric Street at EricStreet@daytoncitypaper.com

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