Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Menopause: The Musical (revisited)"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Carl A. Rossi


"MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL (revisited)"

book and lyrics by Jeanie Linders
co-directed by Patty Bender and Kathryn Conte
choreography by Patty Bender
musical director, orchestrations and arrangements … Kathryn Conte

Power Woman … Kimberly Harris
Soap Star … Donna Huntley
Earth Mother … Mary Callanan / Maryann Zschau
Iowa Housewife … Adrienne Cote / Maryann Zschau

Piano/Keyboards/Conductor … Catherine Stornetta
Drums … Doug Lippincott
Bass Guitar … James Bettincourt

I recently went back to MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL for a third time and was delighted to see it still packing ‘em in with its tuneful celebration of women going through The Change and is doing quite nicely with changes of its own, i.e. in the cast. The audiences are still predominantly female with a few reluctant-looking men here and there but as I scribbled months ago, MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL is for everyone: women can laugh and cheer at the camaraderie onstage and flowing into the audience and men can enjoy the pop tunes with the reworked lyrics, gain some insights into this phase of womanhood and gaze upon four beautiful singer-actresses brimming over with warmth and humor.

Interestingly, with the cast changes, the production’s tone is less cartoony, more streamlined than before, with the cast more or less the same height and size. Adrienne Cote as the perplexed Iowa housewife is the one holdover from the original Boston line-up and she continues to glow with girlish delight over the various liberations that come with the Change; her struggles with lingerie several sizes too small for her remains a hilarious highlight. On the night I attended, Donna Huntley was a sexy, cuddly Soap Star without camping up the role --- why bother, when she’s the real article? --- and Kimberly Harris made a friendly Power Woman, rich in gospel wails and yards of legwork for her Tina Turner impersonation. Maryann Zschau’s Earth Mother, going through her mood swings, allowed Ms. Zschau to demonstrate how funny she can be when she isn’t wowing ‘em with her bright, brassy sound; the funnier she is, the sexier she becomes --- should Boston ever spearhead a revival of Cole Porter’s 1930s musicals, Ms. Zschau would be leading the parade.

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"Menopause: The Musical (revisited)" (14 April-open run)
STUART STREET PLAYHOUSE
200 Stuart Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 426-4499

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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