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Southern Florida by John Lariviere


Menopause the Musical

Writer Jeanie Linder gives us a memorable celebration of the middle-aged woman in her creation Menopause The Musical. Set in Bloomingdale's in New York City, four women have a chance meeting over a lingerie sale table. From there, their day of shopping becomes a day of therapeutic camaraderie. Their story is told in song via a collection of Motown and golden oldie tunes whose lyrics are clever parodies of the originals. Together the women share the joys and challenges of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, wrinkles and sexual rediscovery.

The four characters are named in the script as merely the Power Woman, the Soap Star, the Earth Mother and the Iowa Housewife. Each represents a persona or stereotype. The Power Woman is a strong , career-oriented, independent woman. The Soap Star is a youth-obsessed and high strung star afraid of losing her beauty. The Earth Mother is a caftan wearing, vegetarian hippie. The Iowa Housewife is a sheltered and wholesome soccer mom. Each has something to say to and something to learn from each another.

The show has minimal script, but its songs do align to tell a story, and the songs themselves define the characters and further the plot. Standout numbers are "I'm Having a Hot Flash" (to the tune of "Heat Wave"), "Change of Life" (to the tune of "Chain of Fools" and "Packing On Pounds in All The Wrong Places" (to "Lookin' For Love (In All The Wrong Places))."

A smashing Tina Turner send-up is done in "What's Love Got To Do With It?" by the Power Woman, Nicole Lee. Her voice is as strong and soulful as her character. Leigh Bennett is lovely and ladylike as the Iowa Housewife, even while lustily crooning her ode to her new pink vibrator, "Only You." Ellen Kingston and Judy Bridgewater also turn in solid performances in this ultimate chick flick musical. Not surprisingly, 80% of the audience at the performance attended were menopause-age women. Clearly they identified with the stories told and responded with humor and appreciation. Audience favorites were the Menopause version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and the show's feel-good ending, when the female audience members are invited to join the cast onstage in "A New Attitude." Surely it is the feel-good nature of the show that has led to its growth in popularity, and the number of productions popping up around the country

Menopause The Musical ran July 18th - September 17th 2006 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd and A1A in Jupiter, FL. Show times are Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday 8 p.m., and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre Box Office, on line at www.jupitertheatre.org , or by phone at 561/575-3332 or 800/445-1666. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit community-based Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres.

Cast
Iowa Housewife: Leigh Bennett*
Earth Mother: Judy Bridgewater*
Soap Star: Ellen Kingston*
Power Woman: Nicole Lee*

Crew
Director / Choreographer: Patty Bender
National Music Supervisor: Alan Plado
Set Design: Bud Clark Theme Design
Lighting Design: Jean-Yves Tessier
Sound Design: Gary Faller
Stage Manager: Julie A. Richardson*

* Designates member of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage managers in the United States.


See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere



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