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By Caroline Fontein
There's nothing fun about hot flashes, mood swings, memory loss and weight gain, until now.
Menopause the Musical turns these aging woes into hilarious comedy with four wacky characters confessing their experiences with getting older to the tunes of popular '50s, '60s and '70s songs.
The show, created by Jeanie Linders, debuted in 2001 and since then has been performed in 40 cities worldwide. In Las Vegas, the show has a rotating cast of eight different performers and two understudies.
The show begins with the characters being drawn together by a lingerie sale at Bloomingdale's. At first the women get in a tiff over who has first dibs on a bra, but it's not long until they each realize that their heightened frustration is a mere result of the "change."
"Are you from Iowa too?" gleefully asks the Iowa housewife.
"These days I'm from the state of confusion," replies the Earth mother before they all sing "change, change, change, change of life" to the tune of Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools." Their hilarious and unexpected lyric substitution stirs chuckles from the crowd as they begin to describe how their lives have been altered with age.
While one woman sings, the others do ridiculous choreography in the background, which adds to the hilarity of the lyrics.
Next, Miles, as the business professional, sings "I heard it through the grapevine, you no longer see 39" to the tune of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" while the soap star begrudgingly admits her real age.
Throughout the show, the women take turns doing both solo and chorus numbers, proving that they all have talented voices to match their outstanding and energetic performances. Their characters each represent a different outlook on aging based on their personalities and life experience.
Night sweats and hot flashes become the next topic of conversation.
"I remember throwing the towel over a different kind of wet spot," says the Iowa housewife as she fondly reminiscing about her younger and more sexually active years.
"Whether you're a sister or whether you're a mother you're stayin' awake," sings the Earth mother to the tune of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" when describing her issues with insomnia. Her impassioned singing and boisterous presence make everyone laugh.
Hearing the familiar tunes from the past now integrated with lyrics from the present creates a funny and inspiring combination that makes everyone want to sing along.
With each new conversation topic and song, the women stop on a different floor of the department store. Finally, they decide to take a break for lunch, and while discussing the menu, almost all of them get up to do a solo performance conveying their onset of a sudden hot flash. As they sing while trying to dab and fans themselves the audience erupts with laughter.
Fortunately, for audience members the theater is kept nice and cool to avoid potentially experiencing your own "personal summer," but if you need reinforcements you can purchase one of the signature Menopause fans before the show starts for $1 with proceeds going to charity.
The Platters' "The Great Pretender" becomes an anthem for an increasingly fading memory with age.
"I know your face, but your name's erased," sings the business professional while describing a common occurrence during her time in the office.
Then the four women make a stop in the bathroom where the Iowa housewife frantically searches for her pills or "mother's little helpers" as she refers to them. After reluctantly admitting to the others that she is on medication they all reveal their own "little helper."
"I wish we all could be sane and normal," sing all the women to the Beach Boys' "California Girls." They are an amusing and honest representation of real women also going through menopause from getting on Prozac to finding companionship with food. There's no topic off limits for these ladies.
At one point in the show, Miles comes out dressed as Tina Turner to sing her own version of "What's Love Got to Do With it." Her phenomenal voice fills the theater as she busts out a few of Turner's signature moves.
For the finale, the women come out in sparkling black gowns and celebrate their sense of empowerment and acceptance of getting older while still being ready to get out and enjoy life. They even invite the audience to get on stage and join in the celebration with one last song.
While you might wish you could skip the real menopause experience, this show is one that you will not want to miss. Just take it from one of the women in the audience, "everyone 50 and over should see this show!"
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