Menopause, The MusicalBy Genie Baskir • Aug 17th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Touring Production at the Warner Theatre
Warner Theatre, Washington DC
Through August 19th
1:45 without intermission
$25-$70 (including fees)
Reviewed August 16th, 2012
From an evolutionary standpoint, the change of life might be seen as Nature’s gift to females who manage to survive. Famine, disease, childbirth, war, natural disaster, hard labor…you get the idea….left the odds of anyone’s survival relatively slim. Females who overcame those odds got rewarded with a certain measure of young girlhood freedom before they left this veil of tears for the next life. Getting there is no picnic, but getting to the other side is worth the tsuris after seeing Gfour’s production of Menopause The Musical at the Warner Theatre.
The ever large living and self-important Baby Boomers have removed distaff biology from the closet and made what used to be secret and not discussed outside of a doctor’s office into a tour (literally) de force of humor via song, dance and Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue. There is no self-abnegation here; pop anthems of our youth reconfigured as humorous tributes to the joys (not) of aging recreate a PBS pledge drive revival tour mashed up with feminist cheerleading and demands for sexual satisfaction on our own terms. It is a girl’s night out bachelor party celebrating the total unnecessaryness of men anymore. I made that word up because my brain has turned off and I can’t think of the proper one and, btw, it is very hot in here.
Four woman fight over the underwear sale table at Bloomie’s and bond over their inability to regulate body temperature. The show advances over numerous departments, counters and trips to the ladies room for the emergency tinkle that never abates. Patti Gardner is a menopausal soap opera star engaging in the futile attempt to continue playing an ingénue; Sandy Rosenberg is a leftover love child earth mother vegan in Birkenstocks and striped socks trying to order organic produce in her salad; Annette Houlihan Verdolino is a Mary Kay lady type from Iowa in pink suit and pearls trying to liberate herself forty years after the revolution; and Kimberly Ann Harris is the corporate executive trying not to let her subordinates know that her brain has walked away. Each woman presents soaring vocals and a dynamite personality as the show demands we claim our biology and celebrate it because we have no other choice.
Harris has a smile as glorious as her vocals and stops the show with a Tina Turner parody about vibrators called “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Verdolino breaks out of her pearls discovering her new battery operated best friend in a hilarious parody of “Only You.” Gardner becomes a sexy chorus girl trilling about her hot flashes and Rosenberg drags about in fitness gear singing “Puff The Magic Dragon” a song not about a dragon or pot.
The ancillary charm of this show lies in its ability to draw in the poor men dragged to this sassy, saucy hen party and to affectionately smack the snarky younger women who post nasty troll comments about ditzy, fat old women on Jezebel.com. We may not be spring chickens but we are all the more wonderful for it and this show restores the lost self-esteem of anyone who hasn’t attempted a mirror fast yet. The post industrial world in the 21st century has gifted us with 25 to 40 years of biological liberation that translates into freedom to travel, explore and gad about in groups taking over wine bars, cruises and the media. We’ve raised our children and shed our men through any one of several means to be able to fully enjoy our lives on our own terms. The supposed joys of youth attain mythical status after watching packs of older women out on the town having fun and ignoring the artificial social constraints telling us we should keep our voices down. We shouldn’t and this show doesn’t.
The secret is out: we love our children, we sort of still like our men; but we don’t need any of them to fulfill ourselves or our human potential. Fortunately for us we can defy culture and media and act on these truths. Menopause The Musical does. Go see it; you’ll like yourself better for it. Oooh…..gotta run…boy is it hot in here…or what?
Photos provided by GFour Productions
- Soap Star: Patti Gardner
- Earth Mother: Sandy Rosenberg
- Professional Woman: Kimberly Ann Harris
- Iowa Housewife: Annette Houlihan Verdolino
- Director: Seth Greenleaf
- Creator: Jeanie Linders
- Stage Manager: Darren Brannon
- Technical Director/Lighting: Ryan A. Partidge
- Sound: Steve Shapiro
- Choreographer: Daria Lynne Melendez
- Costume Design: Sue Hill
Disclaimer: GFour Productions provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/8429.
Genie Baskir is a theatrical producer. She worked in radio production and direction for many years and gravitated to theatre when family members became involved with the stage.