Producers Mark Schwartz and Jeanie Linders brought their Florida musical hit Menopause, the Musical to Off-Broadway earlier this year. Now the hot-flashy (one-word) tuner is going through "the change" of its own as it moves uptown to Playhouse 91 starting Sept. 27. Performances will continue at Theatre Four through Sept. 22.
Lyn Eldredge, Joy Lynn Matthews, Carolann Page and Sally Ann Swarm currently star in the show, directed by Kathleen Lindsay, who also staged the Florida run. Patty Bender choreographs, with Corinne Aquilina serving as musical director.
Designing the Off-Broadway production are Jesse Poleshuck (set), Martha Bromelmeier (costumes), Johanna Doty (sound) 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. The show features revised tunes from the '60s and '70s including "I Heard it Through the Grapevine, You'll No Longer See 39," "Chain of Fools" (rewritten as "Change Change Change/ Change of life"), the Bee Gees parody, "Staying Awake, Staying Awake," and "The Husband Sleeps Tonight."
The show which began at Orlando, then moved to West Palm Beach — before heading north to New York — is also looking to open in other cities across the United States. San Francisco is the first target this coming winter and at the North American Menopause Society's national conference Chicago in Oct. *
Asked about the show, 53-year-old Linders told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 1), "The story chronicles the meeting of four women at a lingerie sale; they're all fighting over a black lace bra at Bloomingdales. There's an aging soap star, a power executive, an Iowa housewife with her husband at a convention, and the lost-in-the-60s hippie type. And we've got 28 songs that have been 'relyricked.' It's about memory loss, chocolate binges, night sweats, plastic surgery, not enough sex, too much sex...
"The audience response has been incredible," continued Linders. "There's dancing onstage at the end. Some women even bring props like Rocky Horror — there's a moment in the show when each character pops up with her own anti-depressant, and women in the audience show up with their own pills. After the show we hand out 'You Be The Critic' cards that the audience fills out. We've received responses like, 'Now I know I'm part of a sisterhood,' and 'Where were you 40 years ago?' It's not a theatrical production, it's a women's movement!"
Tickets to the production can be purchased through Telecharge for performances through Sept. 22 then via Ticketmaster for shows at Playhouse 91, 316 East 91 St. For more information on the show, visit www.menopausethemusical.com.
— by Ernio Hernandez
Robert Simonson and Kenneth Jones