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This weekend, Menopause: The Musical plays at the Capitol Center for the Arts. Courtesy photo.




Menopause: The Musical

Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
When: Saturday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m.
Admission: $40 to $55
Contact: ccanh.com, 225-1111




Hot flash harmonies
Menopause: The Musical hits Concord

09/25/14
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



GFour Productions producer Kathi Glist calls Menopause: The Musical the “little show that could.”
Its creator, Jeanie Linders, inspired by a hot flash over a bottle of wine, had never written a play before but knew she was on to something. She hired a director and choreographer and, in 2001, premiered the play in a 76-seat abandoned Florida perfume shop. Its first reviews weren’t awesome. 
But today, Menopause: The Musical celebrates its 3,500th performance. Its resume includes a permanent show in Vegas and a touring company that’s been to 15 different countries. Now it will stop at the Capitol Center for the Arts, with shows on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m.
“At any given time, we’ve had as many as five or six touring companies going on at the same time,” Glist said via phone. “It’s so interesting. We see hundreds of scripts on our desks every month as producers. Very few of them get produced, let alone become successful. Wherever [Menopause] goes, we do well. Wherever we play, the audience loves it.”
Indeed, Rebecca Fisher, who’s been involved with the production on and off since 2005, says she’s never seen an audience response quite like this. There’s something about a musical detailing chocolate cravings, hot flashes, sexual predicaments and nocturnal sweats that makes a woman want to get up and dance in the aisles. 
“The amount of laughter and the intensity of the laughter and the volume of it is like nothing else I’ve experienced,” Fisher said in a phone interview. (Her past credentials include Shakespeare, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and others.) “By the end of the show, sometimes we have women who are crying. I hope they’re tears of joy! I think it’s such a relatable topic for women.”
Fisher says Menopause is more like a revue than a musical. The target audience is women between the ages of 40 and 70, and the play follows four women — Soap Star (played by Fisher), Earth Mother, Iowa Housewife and Professional Woman — who meet while shopping at a Bloomingdale’s black lace lingerie sale. They discover that, while their backgrounds are different, they have a lot in common. Or rather, they have one very big thing in common: menopausal issues.
Within the 90-minute play are 25 musical numbers reminiscent of pop music from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. How reminiscent? Same tunes, different words. “Stayin’ Awake” refers to night sweats and parodies “Stayin’ Alive.” “Puff, My God, I’m Draggin’” is to the melody of “Puff the Magic Dragon;” “Lookin’ for Love [in all the wrong places]” becomes “Lookin’ For Food;” and “My Thighs,” sung by Iowa Housewife and the girls, is presented in the “My Guy” melody.
“What woman in the audience feels good about her thighs? We don’t only talk about menopause. We talk about mood swings, hot flashes and looking in the mirror and seeing your mother,” Glist said. “The secret to our success: each of the audience relates to these characters. … There are four girlfriends onstage, and by the end of the night, the audience members become like the fifth girlfriend.”
GFrour Productions, which has won more than 40 Tony Awards to its name, took on the show shortly after its Florida premiere at Glist’s insistence. She saw Menopause 12 years ago and knew immediately it could be something long-lasting.
“Picture yourself at a rock concert of the highest caliber. People were dancing in the aisles, singing along and rushing to the stage at the end. They were screaming to people onstage as if it were a Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Glist said.
She thinks part of its reaction also stems from the fact that people don’t usually talk about menopause. 
“It became this mini-movement and sense of empowerment for [women], helping them get their voice back,” Glist said. “We sort of poke fun at menopause, but it can be a very serious matter in our life.” 
 
As seen in the September 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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