|(Clockwise from Top) Kelly Ground (Iowa Housewife), Kathleen Antonia (Power Woman), Cindy Goldfield (Earth Mother) and Lisa Robinson (Soap Star) in the San Francisco production of Menopause The Musical at Theatre 39 at Pier 39.
Change, change, change. Change of life is the focus of the rollicking fun in Menopause The Musical, currently playing at the comfy Theatre 39 at Pier 39. This tribute to growing up and growing older is a must-see for women in their 50+‚Äôs, but it‚Äôs also a light-hearted evening of toe-tapping entertainment for everyone.
Four women meet at Bloomingdale‚Äôs department store in NYC. As they fight over a black bra (marked down 50 percent!), they quickly realize they have much in common. Although they comprise a wide range of personalities, they are ALL dealing with ‚ÄúThe Change‚ÄĚ. The disparate cast includes Power Woman (beautifully sung by Kathleen Antonia), Soap Star (edgily rendered by Lisa Robinson), Earth Mother (comically grounded by Cindy Goldfield), and Iowa Housewife (blustered by Kelly Ground). The four continue their bonding throughout Bloomies, including the ladies lounge, caf√©, and various fitting rooms.
The book and lyrics by Jeanie Linders are consistently clever. The dialogue is kept to a minimum, giving ample time to the singing and dancing. The tunes are all classic hits from the 1960s and ‚Äė70s. Wisely, the topic of the evening isn‚Äôt just hot flashes and angry fits, but also the significance associated with leaving behind a phase of life‚Ä¶ or more importantly moving forward into new phase of different possibilities. Women throughout the audience roared with laughter and/or shouted out acknowledgement of shared experience. The tone is decidedly upbeat, despite the potential for deeper, more serious moments. Complete with a message of self-empowerment and acceptance, this is ultimately quite a feel-good musical. (Warning: The 90-minute joy ride is without intermission, so plan ahead.)
Director Kathryn Conte maintains just the right balance between a nod at the slightly-more-serious issues and a lop-sided grin at the vagaries of our aging bodies. Musical direction by Julie Homi (also on keyboards) makes the most of the modified medley of lampooned lyrics. Patty Bender‚Äôs joyful choreography keeps the performers bouncing around the stage, certainly expending more energy than any Jane Fonda workout. And the set design by Bud Clark Theme Design and lighting by Jean Yves Tessier achieve the perfect visual ambience.
Anyone with a pulse will want to jump up and dance to the cavalcade of re-lyricized hit tunes. And luckily‚ÄĒif you MUST dance‚ÄĒat the end of the show all the women are invited to join the performers onstage to shake, shake, shake. So shake what you‚Äôve got all the way down to Pier 39 for the hotter-than-hot Menopause the Musical.
Menopause the Musical continues its open-ended run at Theatre 39 at Pier 39 (at Beach and The Embarcadero), SF. Tickets ($46.50) are available by calling 433-3939. For more info, go to www.menopausethemusical.com