‘Menopause The Musical’ at The Warner Theatre

FOUR STARS
If a musical about not being able to the pay the rent or a plant that eats people can make it big, a musical about Menopause is following in a great tradition. It’s long run demonstrates it’s enduring appeal. It’s now playing in Spanish and soon will be updated as Menopause the Musical Extreme “for the next generation of women.”

The cast of Menopause The Musical. Photo courtesy of The Warner Theatre.

The cast of Menopause The Musical. Photo courtesy of The Warner Theatre.

Menopause The Musical, playing to packed houses at The Warner Theater has hit a sweet spot with it’s mostly female audience, celebrating ‘The Change,’ and recasting humorous iconic songs from the 60s with new lyrics by Jeanie Linder. Choreographed by Daria Lynne Melendez and with an original score and arrangements by Alan J. Plado, the joyous camaraderie of an ensemble group of four women “of a certain age,” delighted the mostly female packed audience. The four stars were equally strong in their portrayal of four strangers who bond in the ornate setting of the ladies lounge in Bloomingdales.

The four stars, Sandra Benton, Ingrid Cole, Liz Hyde, and Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck, display the exuberant mood swings said to accompany menopause with barbershop harmony and star turns. There are wistful references to glories past and girlish laughter accompanying references to physical declines and evolving relationships. These charmers manage to evoke laughter about challenges they face, never letting a moment pass without a joke, a double entendre or a moderately high kick.

Sandra Benton, as “A Professional Woman” (see what difference a pantsuit can make) belts out new versions of popular songs that make us forget the original lines. Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck as “Soap Star” plays a generic version of the star who has aged out of being an ingenue and fears that there is less demand for her now vintage visage. Ingrid Cole as “Earth Mother,” plays a hippie who is happy with her choices in life but who has no script for the next stage of life. Liz Hyde is an “Iowa Housewife” who finds a new significant other where least expected. No, this is not Madison County – this is New York City.

The songs revamped rather well, and included “Staying Alive,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” “The Great Pretender,” and “Puff the Magic Dragon.” “Looking for Love (in all the right places)” became “Looking for Food,” “Having a Heat Wave” became “Having a Hot Flash,” “Staying Alive” became “Staying Awake,” and there was plenty of air guitar and a disco ball to accessorize the lyric inventiveness. I lost track of the abundant song transpositions, but fortunately together with souveniers such as fans and teeshirts there was a CD on offer featuring the new incarnations of these old favorites:

“Good Vibrations,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “A Sign of the Times,” Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places,” “What’ Love Got to Do with It,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” and “Beauty is Only Skin Deep.”

The conclusion, featuring “New Attitude,” culminated in a rousing participation event in which 40 or 50 woman rushed the stage to add their vigor to the appreciative response of the attending fans.

This show is coming to a venue near you, wherever you are. Check their tour schedule.

Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.

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Menopause The Musical played on Friday and Saturday, June 13-14, 2014 at The Warner Theatre-513 13th Street, in Washington, DC. The Sunday, June 15th performance was cancelled.

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