Regional Reviews: San Francisco
Menopause, the Musical
Menopause, the Musical has opened at the new state of the art Pier 39 Theatre. This 90-minute revue features four very talented entertainers. We get to know all about (a little too much about) menopause and hot flashes through their comedy and song. (On the night we attended, there were over 200 screaming and laughing women and just four males, including the two of us. Now I know what is feels like to be in a minority.)
Writer Jeanie Linder also wrote lyrics to popular songs for the Beatles, Sonny and Cher, the Beach Boys and Irving Berlin, just to name a few. Ms. Linder's lyrics are clever, and some are real howlers; you just can't help but laugh at them.
Menopause is a series of sketches with parodies of 26 pop songs from the 60s and 70s. The action takes place in front of four elevator doors at Bloomingdale's department store in New York. Four women are fighting over a lingerie sale. Involved is a power woman, played by Kathleen Antonia; an earth mother from the hippie era, played by Cindy Goldfield; an Iowa housewife who looks and acts like Dorothy Loudon, played by Kelly Ground; and a former soap star trying to pass for 35, played by Lisa Robinson. The group goes immediately into the tune of "Chain, Chain, Chain," made famous by Aretha Franklin, with the new title of "Change, Change, Change."
Menopause has some great parody songs, such as the disco favorite "Stayin' Alive," now called "Stayin' Awake, Stayin' Awake," sung with great gusto by the four member cast. The Beach Boys' "California Girls" becomes "We wish we all could be sane and normal girls," and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" becomes "My husband sleeps on the couch because she's a bitch."
Every member of the cast has a chance to shine. Kathleen Antonia (The Violet Hour and Colossus of Rhoads) is a real hoot in the song "My Thighs," to the melody of "My Guy." She is also great as Tina Turner singing "Puff, My God, I'm Dragging" about working out to lose weight.
Cindy Goldfield (A Christmas Carol at ACT, Crimes of the Heart at Playhouse West) is first rate as an aging hippie who never married her 25-year partner. She has a powerful voice, especially in a song about "night sweats." Kelly Ground (originated the role of Fantine in national tour of Les Miserables at the Curran), as the Midwestern housewife who declares that they do have sex in Iowa, gives a great comic performance. Lisa Robinson (Los Angeles company of Menopause plus playing the evil Queen in the Disney park musical Snow White) as the aging actress has great dance moves and good vocal chops in "Sign of the Times."
There are songs about vibrators ("Good Vibrations," "What's Love Got to Do With It," and "Only You"), songs about their mothers who still think these middle-aged women are children, and songs about chocolate cravings and moodenhancing medication like Prozac. The whole show is fresh, funny and hilarious. Yes, maybe even the men will enjoy it.
Menopause, the Musical currently is an open-ended run at Pier 39 Theatre, Pier 39, The Embarcadero, San Francisco. Ticket on sale for at least six week in advance. Visit www.menopausethemusical.com for more information or call 415-433-5100 or visit www.tix.com for tickets.