The formerly “Silent Passage” is mute no more. And at performances of Menopause The Musical®, conversation about “the change” is downright rowdy, say producers, as audience members get so into the show that they dance in the aisles and shout affirmative responses back to the performers on stage.
That’s what it’s all about, according to interviews with Jeanie Linders, writer and creator of Menopause The Musical®. “Let’s face it, it’s not Macbeth,” she said. “But it was never written to be about theater. It was written to be about women, and they get it.”
When you have hot flashes and night sweats, she said, you want to know that what you’re going through is normal. “And when you’re in an audience with 300 women and they’re all screaming, ‘that’s me, that’s me,’ you know you’re not alone,” said Linders.
Menopause The Musical® comes to the Bardavon Opera House on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, November 27, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $54.50 for orchestra rows A-C and $44.50 for all other orchestra seats and the balcony. Tickets are available through the Bardavon Box Office at 35 Market St. in Poughkeepsie, the UPAC Box Office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.
The 90-minute show is about four women who meet at a lingerie sale at the department store. The all-female cast, given the archetypal names of Professional Woman, Iowa Housewife, Earth Mother and Soap Star, have nothing in common with each other except symptoms of menopause, but through making fun of their collective experiences they develop a sisterhood with each other.
Baby boomers in the audience will find the melodies of the songs in the production familiar, but with reworked lyrics to reflect the theme of the show and the maturity of the audience. A song of teenage angst like Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” has been transformed into “I’m Flashing,” and Petula Clark’s “It’s a Sign of the Times” keeps that title but changes the mileposts (“when your hourglass shape becomes a glass of water”). Fatigue is highlighted in “Puff, My God, I’m Draggin’” and “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)” is “The Fat Gram Song” here (“are they on your thighs, oh no”).
Menopause The Musical® has been produced in over 450 cities in the United States and in more than 300 international cities in 14 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom. (The characters become localized to the places, as when the “Iowa Housewife” becomes the “Waikato Housewife” in New Zealand.)
The show’s website claims that 11 million people have seen the show since its inception in 2001, and some of them were even men, who may find themselves reluctant at first to be there, say show producers, but who ultimately enjoy it and even understand the women in their lives better afterward.
To raise funds in support of two community groups who feed the hungry in our region, the Bardavon will solicit donations directly from its audiences at every event in November and December. The concept of Dinner & Show – Just $3 was created three years ago by Queens Galley executive director Diane Reeder and UPAC operations manager Ila Carnes. “People don’t realize that for as little as $3 we are able to feed one person a dinner at the soup kitchen,” says Reeder.
Funds raised will be split between Beverly Close Memorial Food Pantry in Poughkeepsie (dutchessoutreach.org), which provides clients with up to three days of food in times of need and Queens Galley in Kingston (queensgalley.org), a nonprofit organization that provides awareness, education and relief.
Menopause The Musical, Tuesday through Thursday, November 27-29, 8 p.m., $44.50-$54.50, Bardavon Opera House, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie; (845) 473-2072, bardavon.org.