Menopause the Musical (Review)

Show evokes knowing reactions, but it’s predictable

I am not the target demographic for Menopause the Musical, the show that’s spent 10 years “celebrating the Change.” The tour is in the midst of a three-week stop in Cincinnati, playing to largely “girlfriend” audiences at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff.

As the publicity states, it’s a show about “four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more.” The show happens in a department store where each floor offers a setting for a different experience — shopping, clothing, eating, exercising, “personal satisfaction.” Menopause employs a collection of familiar Pop tunes, mostly from the ’60s and ’70s with new lyrics — for example, “Chain of Fools” becomes “Change of Life.” And on. And on. Many of these parodies are clever, but this is really a one-trick pony that becomes predictable long before the 90-minute show concludes with the audience invited onstage to dance to “YMCA.”

That’s not due to any shortage of energy or talent from the strong cast with solid professional credentials. Each plays a stereotyped character — Ingrid Cole is “Earth Mother,” Lisa Mack is “Professional Woman” (her appearance as Tina Turner is a show-stopper), Stacy Schwartz is “Soap Star” and Monica Heuser (a Northern Kentucky University theater grad) is “Iowa Housewife.” They’re all great singers and know how to milk humor out of songs and situations, working a canned soundtrack for all its worth.

The knowing reactions of women in the audience are not because any of the insights are especially profound. It’s more about sharing with friends the common ground, especially the pain and the joys of aging. This is an opportunity for female Baby Boomers to have fun with girlfriends. Leave the guys home; they’ll thank you.

MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL continues at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater through Aug. 14. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.

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