A has-been soap star; A professional diva; An earth mother guru; An Iowan housewife. Now, you might be thinking: what the heck is this laundry list of women for? What do they have to do with each other? Well, my dears, these women are all going through menopause.
And they are SINGING about it — onstage.
A production that has raced up and down the western seaboard, “Menopause the Musical” is an outstanding 90 minutes of leisure.
With lyrics written by Jeanie Linders, “Menopause the Musical” lightens the overall depressive mood of menopause and makes it into something that is, well, comical. Linders invoked her own hormonally-influenced words into ’80s classics. The 24 songs are strung together in an easily watchable format that links with the story line in a hilarious manner.
The women start out in the lingerie department of a shopping mall. All four are picking up skimpy red lacy things, when the music drops and the African American professional diva sings like Aretha Franklin “Chain, Chain, Chain … ” Only in this case, the words are switched to “Change, Change, Change of Life,” referencing that ever-so-sweet event that occurs between the ages of 50 and 60. The women repeatedly complain about having to take Prozac and the need for Viagra in this segment. Other songs include “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” which is changed to “I Heard You’re No Longer 39”, “Staying Alive” is turned into “Stayin’ Awake”, and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” becomes “On the Couch or in the Guest Room my Husband Sleeps Tonight.”
Inappropriately clever one-liners fill the cracks in between the music: “Hormones are moaning whores.” “Um, this glow is not coming from my jewels.” “I remember throwing a towel over a different kind of wet spot…”
A particularly funny scene occurs when the Iowa housewife turns to the earth mother guru and whispers, “My Ronnie doesn’t like to do it with me anymore. And sometimes I’d like to! You know, they DO have, err, sex, in Iowa.”
“Who needs Ronnie?!” the earth mother guru retorted. “You don’t need him for a little afternoon delight.”
This segued into the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and the Iowa housewife makes a terribly horrified look on her face as she cries “No, no, I don’t do those…contraptions.”
After a series of getting mad at kids, having hot flashes, hating on husbands, sweating through the night and a good ole’ conversation regarding vibrator usage, the show ended with a triumph of “This is Your Day,” a.k.a. “Y.M.C.A.”
As I walked out of the Lobero Theatre, I caught a 70-something man looking like he thoroughly enjoyed himself. “Man, ladies with menopause are filled with life!” he exclaimed. I couldn’t help smiling.