Entertainment » Theatre

Menopause: The Musical

by Steven  Skelley
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Sep 30, 2012
The cast of ’Menopause: The Musical’
The cast of ’Menopause: The Musical’  

I saw "Menopause: The Musical" and survived! I consider that quite an accomplishment considering how the evening began. As my male guest and I made our way to our balcony seats, we were greeted with multiple catcalls from female attendees such as:

"Hey! What are you doing here?"

"Hey! This is not a Beach Boys concert. It's 'Menopause'!"

"Hey! You two do realize you are the only two men here, right?"

My favorite was, "Hey! Did you think this was going to be a great place to pick up chicks?"

Being a gay male journalist, picking up post-menopausal, grey haired females was not high on my list of priorities, but I knew it was going to be an entertaining night. These ladies had come prepared to have fun and they were enjoying themselves before the show even began.

"Menopause: The Musical" is all about fun and the shared female experiences of the change of life. I have never seen women laughing harder and louder than they did at this show. Women were actually stomping their feet, laughing hysterically and saying to each other, "I do that too!" when one of the characters described a hormonal moment.

One running gag is how one of the ladies suffers menopausal incontinence issues and has to run off the ladies room repeatedly. She usually makes it there in time -- but not always.

The show opens up in Bloomies, aka Bloomingdale's Department Store. Four very different women find themselves accidentally sharing a shopping experience and their personal menopausal challenges in various hilarious ways. They include the Professional Woman, the Soap Star, the Earth Mother and the Iowa Housewife.

Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck reminded me of the Blanche Devereaux character from "The Golden Girls," using her sexiness to her advantage for her whole life but now finding her body changing and drooping in spite of the best plastic surgeons.

Kimberly Ann Harris portrays the African-American Professional Woman. Harris is an accomplished actor who debuted on Broadway in the original production of "The Color Purple." Her Professional Woman role in "Menopause" allows her to show her comedic and musical talents as well. Her big-wigged, high-heeled, mini-dress, butt-shaking Tina Turner impersonation is a showstopper.

Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck portrays the Soap Star. She reminded me of the Blanche Devereaux character from "The Golden Girls" classic television sitcom. The Soap Star has used her sexiness to her advantage for her whole life but now finds her body changing and drooping in spite of the best plastic surgeons she can buy. Vanbiesbrouck's over-the-top, drama queen vocal performances are hilarious.

Margot Moreland portrays the fading hippie Earth Mother who never outgrew the 1960s and whose inner peace is challenged by her new hormonal inner demon. The peaceful person she once was has been replaced by an angry woman who looks like her mother.

Moreland's Earth Mother shares the trials of her marriage in a clever rewrite of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." In Earth Mother's world, the familiar tune now contains the lyrics, "She's a witch. She's a witch. She's a bitch. She's a bitch. In the guestroom or on the sofa, my husband sleeps at night. In the guestroom or on the sofa, my husband sleeps at night."

Liz Hyde's chunky Iowa Housewife character stole the show. Hyde has been with the production for seven years and she has honed her comedic portrayal to perfection. When she pumped her hips in the "Stayin' Alive" dance routine, the women around me were howling in laughter and stomping the floor.

The show follows the ladies as they shop various floors at Bloomingdales and make multiple stops in the ladies' rooms. In each scene, they share the challenges of the change of life through humorous rewrites of some very famous and familiar popular songs from 1961 to 1980. You will quickly recognize the tunes but the real surprise comes in the cleverly themed lyrics that offer the actors plenty of opportunity for slapstick comedy silliness.

The biggest laugh of the night aside from Professional Woman's Tina Turner singing a liberating take on "What's Love Got To Do With It" was when the modest and chunky Iowa Housewife discovers the joys of personal vibration devices and sings "Only You" to her vibrator!

The show concludes with the cast bringing dozens of cheering female audience members onstage to sing and dance with them.

I not only survived "Menopause: The Musical" -- I enjoyed every minute of it!

"Menopause: The Musical" runs through September 30 at the King Center for the Performing Arts at Brevard Community College, 3865 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL . For info or tickets, call 321-242-2219 or visit http://www.kingcenter.com

Steven Skelley is a published author of several nonfiction works and the novella The Gargoyle Scrolls. He has been a newspaper columnist, travel writer, news writer, music director, creative arts director, theater reviewer and tennis instructor.


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