Menopause The Musical
|Menopause, The Musical|
|It's not the 'Silent Passage' anymore!|
Menopause, The Musical debuted March 28, 2001 in Orlando, Florida, in a 76-seat theatre that once housed a perfume shop. The original cast members were Shelly Browne as the Power (later Professional) Woman, Patti McGuire as the Iowa Housewife, Pammie O'Bannon as the Earth Mother and Wesley Williams as the Soap Star. The show was directed by Kathleen Lindsey.
The cast of four women shopping for lingerie at a Bloomingdale's sale sing 25 songs about chocolate cravings, hot flashes, loss of memory, nocturnal sweats, and sexual predicaments. The lyrics parody popular music from the baby boomer era, with notable numbers "Stayin' Awake" and "Puff, My God I'm Draggin'."
Written by Jeanie Linders, the show appealed to menopausal women, a market Linders felt neglected by mainstream fare, who helped the show blow the lid off the "silent passage" by flocking to the show in large numbers, often taking advantage of group sales promotions. The show's ensuing success Off-Broadway led to a number of productions across the country produced both by Linders' TOC Productions (in such cities as Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles) as well as South Florida theatrical producers GFour Productions (in Boston, Denver, and Las Vegas, where it is currently housed at the Luxor Las Vegas).
Within a few years, international productions became commonplace, with shows in Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and South Korea. Local references in the show are customized to the location of the performance; for example, the 'Iowa Housewife' became 'Dubbo Housewife' in Australia and 'Waikato housewife' in New Zealand; America's Bloomingdale's became Smith & Caugheys in New Zealand and Marks & Spencer in London.
The show's official website claims that eleven million people have seen the show. A significant percentage of its audience consists of members of the Red Hat Society.
The show is also known for its contributions to the fight against ovarian cancer, for which it staged a national fund raising tour, as well as raising awareness of menopause-related issues, most notably through the creation of the Jeanie C. Linders Fund. Donations toward the fund are collected at performances of the show through the sale of souvenir "hot flash fans."
- Leslie Fischer at chicagocritic.com recommends you "bring the waterproof mascara because you’ll laugh so hard, you’ll cry. With humor and compassion, writer, producer, and lyricist Jeanie Linders has captured the experiences of every woman in her 40s and 50s. Remember all those great songs of the 50s, 60s and 70s--full of love and teenage angst? Linders has rewritten their lyrics to reflect our mature experience, exploring the ways in which our bodies, our emotions and our spirits, change with the Change. When you don’t recognize yourself in these hilarious lyrics, you’ll recognize a friend." 
- Genessee Kagy of the Daily Californian wrote that "Menopause's collection of great oldies, clever tongue-in-cheek lyrics and entertaining dance routines prevented me from making any I-Need-Air trips to the restroom despite the fact that I hadn't felt like such a fraud since I turned eighteen-years old. Over 90 percent of the audience were women more than twice my age ... Linders' humorous new lyrics coupled to old favorites provide a good laugh. When the show ended, the entire audience was still clapping their hands to the final number, yelling and letting out whoops of approval." 
- From the Baltimore Times-Herald: "'My Guy' becomes 'My Thighs,' 'I’m Sorry' transforms into 'I’m Flashing,' 'The Great Pretender' laments brain collapse, and 'A Sign of the Times' is 'looking in the mirror and seeing my mother.' Get the picture? It’s hilarious, good fun and the perfect destination for a girls’ treat out. (Judging from their guffaws, the handful of guys in the audience were enjoying it, too.)" 
- Megan Cavanagh, best remembered as Marla Hooch in the Penny Marshall film A League of Their Own has played the role of "Iowa Housewife" at Chicago's Apollo Theater and overseas in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as on various national tours.
- Paige O'Hara, best known as the voice of Belle in Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast, is an original member of the Las Vegas cast, playing the role of "Soap Star."
- Queen Emily, a singer from Stockton, CA, who placed fifth in the 3rd season of America's Got Talent headlined the Las Vegas cast in 2009.
- Actor/recording artist Susan Anton, known for her work in film (Cannonball Run II) and television (Baywatch) appeared in the Las Vegas cast in the winter of 2010-11.
Other performance locations
The original Orlando production has played more or less continuously since the show's origin, most recently at the Plaza Theatre. The Off-Broadway production officially opened at Theatre Four on April 4, 2002, after a month of previews, and closed in the spring of 2006, logging more than 1500 performances. The show is running worldwide in diverse locations throughout the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.
- Menopause the Musical official website
- The Jeanie C. Linders Fund
- HOT FLASHES = HIT MUSICAL
- GFour Productions website
- Jeanie Linders ... a Champion of Women
- Fischer, Leslie (May 15, 2005), Menopause the Musical (review), chicagocritic.com, archived from the original on September 11, 2007, retrieved 2007-12-14
- Kagy, Genessee (November 10, 2005), Pleasing Loud, Proud And Middle-Aged Crowds, Daily Californian, retrieved 2007-12-14
- Breitenbach, Celeste H. (July 26, 2007), Theater: A flash of fun at ‘Menopause’ ([dead link] – Scholar search), Baltimore Times-Herald, retrieved 2007-12-14
- Simonson, Robert (May 9, 2006), Long-Running Off-Broadway Hit Menopause the Musical to Close May 14, Playbill.com, retrieved 2007-12-15