Saturday, June 12, 2010
Show #28 "Menopause the Musical" at the Broadway Center
The crush of the crowd was almost overwhelming. They arrived by the busload, filling the 1100 seat Pantages Theater to the brim. Middle-aged and elderly women came by the score, some wearing Red Hats and Purple dresses, others with walkers, canes and wheelchairs.
A few brave men (including Randy) navigated their way along with their wives into the sea of chattering females. I remarked to my friend Cheryl that it felt like we were at a Mary Kay cosmetics convention...(or something else that is very female).
But this was no convention. This was an event. An event of almost cult-like status. This was Menopause the Musical.
From the time the four actresses took the stage, the auditorium exploded with cheers, laughter and celebration.
The songs were affectionate parodies of pop hits mostly from the 1960s. The topics of the musical numbers ranged from hot flashes to memory loss to middle-aged weight gain. The performers played it big and broad (no pun intended) and sold it for everything it was worth.
In other words, it was brilliant.
I love watching brilliance at work. I'm not talking about the actresses' performances, although they were pretty darn good. I'm talking about the whole concept of Menopause the Musical.
Menopause is a touring production that is only in town for 3 performances. I suspect they are packing the house for all 3 shows. I suspect that happens in every city they visit.
It's not exactly high-brow theatre. This isn't Shakespeare, as they say. No star-crossed love affairs or murdered kings. Try hot flashes and mood swings.
This is pure, unadulterated entertainment. But it's no cheap, trashy affair, either. The production values are high. The actresses are all members of Actor's Equity. This is professional stuff here, folks.....
So what exactly is the brilliance here? Well, I'd say it's this: entertainment for the masses using theatrical standards usually reserved for "high art." This is no school talent show or skit night at summer camp. This is the real thing.
And comedy, as I like to say, is no laughing matter. It takes all the skill, talent and hard work of any dramatic production. Maybe even more so. I mean, how many actors do I know who can pull off drama well, but couldn't make me laugh to save their lives?
After witnessing the hooting, hollering, laughing and clapping that went on today, I would definitely say these actresses know their stuff. The director knows her stuff. The producers know their stuff.
They were brilliant.
Not only flashes of brilliance....but HOT flashes of brilliance.
Sorry, couldn't resist that one.....
Production graphics courtesy of Menopause the Musical