.home | art & architecture | books & cds | dance | destinations | film | opera | television | theater | archives ..
Menopause has been called the silent passage, but as depicted in Menopause The Musical it is anything but silent. The show is loud, brassy, bawdy, wickedly satiric, and absolutely hilarious, but it's also an affirming celebration of life, at least of that part of life experienced by women of a certain age, and a powerful reminder that finding humor in tribulation is a fine way to cope.
I'm having a hot flash
A tropical hot flash
My personal summer is really a bummer
I'm having a hot flash.
Comes on like a car crash
No warning just hot flash
Outside it is nippy, but I'm hot and drippy
I'm having a hot flash
Almost every song, with its
new lyrics and new subtext, is met with a roar of laughter and rewarded with thunderous
applause. This is a show that might not impress, say, an audience of teenage boys, but for
its target group it's exactly what they came to see, laugh at, and enjoy.
The cast is excellent. Joy Lynn Mathews plays a cell-phone-talking power executive with a sophisticated cynicism that is both sharp and saucy. For one song, in a wig from hell, she is outrageously funny as she impersonates Aretha Franklin. Mary Jo McConnell is an aging soap star obsessed with wrinkles, who performs one of her numbers as a very convincing Marilyn Monroe. As a sort of earth mother stuck in the sixties, Joyce A. Presutti is bumblingly engaging. Most delightful of this funny foursome is Carolann Page as a housewife from Ohio in town to see the sights and shop. Her comic timing is impeccable, she is a master of physical comedy, and she has the wild eyes and rubber face of a Lucille Ball.
It is worth noting that none of the actors are slender. They come nowhere near qualifying to walk down a runway as skin-and-bones fashion models. They look like real women; in fact, like most of the women in the audience.
All four are excellent singers, coping with the varying styles of the songs with ease and panache. There are no challenging dance numbers, but they handle the movement that goes with the songs perfectly. Music is provided by a sprightly threesome--Corrine Aqualina, who also did the musical arrangements, playing a three-stack synthesizer with acoustic keyboard, Diana Herold on drums, and Audrey Terry on bass guitar.
The set, by Jesse Poleshuck, is a slick and colorful rendition of Bloomingdale's. Costumes, by Martha Bromelemeier, suit each of the four characters, and even add to the humor. Director Kathleen Lindsey keeps it all moving along at a sprightly pace, and choreographer Patty Bender has a terrific sense of the style of each song, and a sly sense of humor, too.
New York, April 3, 2002 - Roy Sorrels