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Southern Florida by John Lariviere


Menopause the Musical

Also see John's review of Dr. Radio

Menopause the MusicalG Four Productions recently presented Jeanie Linder's Menopause the Musical at the Parker Playhouse. Writer Jeanie Linder provides this comedic musical celebration of the modern day 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. 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 Professional Woman, the Soap Star, the Earth Mother and the Iowa Housewife. Each represents a persona or stereotype. The Professional Woman is a strong , career-oriented, independent woman. The Soap Star is a high-strung star afraid of losing her youth and beauty. The Earth Mother is a bohemian vegetarian. The Iowa Housewife is a sheltered and wholesome soccer mom. Each has something to learn from the others. Their story is told in song via a collection of Motown and golden oldie tunes whose lyrics are clever parodies of the originals. The show has a scant script, but its songs do align to tell a story, and the songs define the characters and further the plot. Audience favorites include "I'm Having a Hot Flash" (to the tune of "Heat Wave"), "Change of Life" (to the tune of "Chain of Fools"), "My Thighs" (to the tune of "My Guy"), and a standout rendition of "My Husband Sleeps Tonight" (to the tune of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight").

Fredena J. Williams, who plays the Professional Woman, has a huge voice and great comic timing. She does a sensational job as Tina Turner in a send-up of "What's Love Got To Do With It?" Stacy Schwartz is lovely and funny as the Soap Star as well. Sandy Dewoody, as the prim Iowa Housewife, is at her best while lustily crooning her ode to her new pink vibrator, "Only You." Sandy Rosenberg as the Earth Mother, has great energy and a voice second only to William's. Costumes, lighting, sound and props all work together pretty smoothly in this production. Though some lyric rhymes and rhythms are more natural sounding than others, all are decently sung. One could ask for more harmonies throughout the show, and fewer repeats of chorus. The majority of the audience on the day attended were middle-aged women, who clearly responded to the stories of these characters with laughter and appreciation. Surely, it is the sense of validation and the feel-good nature of this show that have led to its growth in popularity, with a number of productions popping up around the country.

Menopause The Musical appeared April 17, 2010 at The Parker Playhouse. The Parker Playhouse is located at 707 NE 8th St. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. For information on The Parker Playhouse you may contact them at 954-763-2444 or online at www.parkerplayhouse.com. Offerings at the Parker Playhouse are in conjunction with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Presentations of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support is also contributed by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Inc. The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment Consortium is a cultural partnership between the Performing Arts Center Authority, Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Florida Grand Opera., Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and The Historic Stranahan House Museum. It is supported by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Visitors Bureau. For information on the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, you may contact them by phone at 954-462-0222 or online at www.browardcenter.org.

Cast:
Iowa Housewife: Sandy Dewoody*
Earth Mother: Sandy Rosenberg*
Soap Star: Stacy Schwartz*
Professional Woman: Fredena J. Williams*

Crew:
Director/Music Supervisor: Michael Larson
Choreography: Daria Melendez
Lighting Design: Ryan A. Patridge
Sound Design: Steve Shapiro
Costume Design: Sue Hill
Stage Manager:Marc Carmen*

* 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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