Hot Flash: Menopause the Musical Eyeing Off-Bway in March

News   Hot Flash: Menopause the Musical Eyeing Off-Bway in March Off-Broadway already has seen shows called Urinetown, The Vagina Monologues and Puppetry of the Penis, so why not Menopause, the Musical?

Off-Broadway already has seen shows called Urinetown, The Vagina Monologues and Puppetry of the Penis, so why not Menopause, the Musical?

That's the hope of producers Mark Schwartz and Jeanie Linders, who want to see their Florida hit reach an Off-Broadway venue in the spring. They'd been eyeing the Minetta Lane Theatre (which will instead get The Last Five Years), but delays and the post-Sept. 11th chill Off-Broadway forced a change in those plans.

A spokesperson at general manager Brent Peek's office re-confirmed (Jan. 21) that the show had finished casting, though until all contracts are signed (expected shortly), names won't be released. The show will likely start previews and open in March. Designing the Off-Broadway production will be Jess Poleshuck (set), Martha Bromelmeier (costumes) and Michael Gilliam (lighting).

In the show, penned by co-producer Linders, a group of women in Bloomingdales talk about the ups and downs of middle age. "It's set to classic baby-boomer music with new lyrics," Peek told PBOL. The revised tunes include "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Heat Wave," and two Aretha Franklin hits, "Chain of Fools" (rewritten as "Change change change / Change of life") and "Respect." Kathleen Lindsay directs the musical, budgeted at $500,000; Patti Bender choreographs.

General Manager Peek said the current West Palm Beach production, which opened June 22 at the Cuillo Center for the Arts, will probably take a three month break but then return and be unaffected by the separate New York production. As for the show's target audience, Peek said, "It's amazing what happens when women see themselves on stage. Women their age, their same general, physical thing... up there doing what I think they wish they were doing, and talking about problems they all have in common. It's amazing; they love it. I want this to be my little Forever Plaid." — By David Lefkowitz