News Column

'Menopause the Musical' returns to St. Joe

September 13, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 13--'Menopause the Musical' returns to St. Joe on Sept. 18

The nationwide touring production of "Menopause the Musical" may seem like it's geared for a very specific middle-aged female audience, but its cast members are quick to point out the contrary. In fact, Liz Hyde says, the men in the crowd often enjoy it as much as the women.

"They tell us, 'I had a ball!' And they always want to give us a big hug," says Hyde, who plays the Iowa Housewife in the musical that will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Missouri Theater. "Even if you don't see yourself in it, you might see your mother. You might see your wife. You'll see someone you know."

Hyde says this particular play isn't so much about the process of menopause as about the things that come with aging -- forgetting people's names, sagging body parts, gaining weight in certain areas. Through colorful pop-song parodies, "Menopause the Musical" aims to comfort and empower all those people going through a mid-life crisis with lots of laughs. It's also a nostalgic look back for the elderly and an insightful look forward for younger audiences.

"It's not just a play. It's really an experience and one that sticks with you," Hyde says. "People come away from it changed, like it's therapy or ministry in a theatrical setting."

This musical (which was written in 2001 by Jeanie Linders) follows four total strangers as they meet at a lingerie sale at Bloomingdale's in New York. These women have only one thing in common: menopause. But each of the women has her own story to tell. The Professional Woman (played by Cynthia Jones) laments about keeping up with her younger colleagues at work. The aging Soap Star (played by Lisa Fox), no longer a beautiful young actress, worries about her career. The Iowa Housewife (Hyde) and the Earth Mother (Megan Cavanagh), both with grown families, question their purpose in life.

This foursome spends the day complaining, confiding and consoling each other as they stroll through the Bloomingdale's departments. No topic is taboo. Hot flashes, sleeplessness, weight gain, libido, memory loss and food binges all get their own special song parody.

Several songs about teenage angst and love from the '50s, '60s and '70s are transformed to reflect the mature experience. For instance, Irving Berlin's "Heat Wave" becomes "I'm Having a Hot Flash," "Puff the Magic Dragon" turns into "Puff, my God, I'm Draggin'" and "My Guy" morphs into "My Thighs."

"It's got a timeless appeal in a way because these are songs you have heard on the radio so much," Hyde says. "They're just slightly changed for a few laughs." Hyde says her favorite musical numbers are "Lookin' For Food" (a take on Johnny Lee's "Lookin' for Love") and a couple of medleys -- one based on the music of The Beach Boys and another on the songs of The Bee Gees.

What she enjoys more, however, is the audience reaction at each performance. Although Hyde hails from Charlotte, N.C., she feels that Midwestern audiences connect with the material of "Menopause," and her character in particular, more than anywhere else. She sees the Iowa Housewife as a sheltered, trusting and naive woman. She says she based the character on her own mother, who she describes as a very loving woman who found "a childlike joy in things" before she passed away. Those traits would apply to many kindhearted Midwestern mothers, she adds.

And even if the audience isn't too fond of the Iowa Housewife, they often relate to Hyde herself.

"I'm a larger woman than what you normally see on stage," she laughs. "So many women relate to me because they see part of themselves in me. They get a kick out of seeing me singing and dancing up there."

For tickets or more information, call 271-4717 or go online to www.ticketmaster.com.

RiverSong presents 'Tangled Tales' at Plain Jane Theater

RiverSong, the award-winning local women's barbershop chorus, will present "Tangled Tales: A Whimsical Whodunnit!" at 3 p.m. Sept. 15 at the to Plain Jane Music Theater in Stewartsville, Mo.

The cast of characters in this musical include Splenda, a young good witch who is given the quest to save magic in fairytale land; the misunderstood Wolf, who helps Splenda on her quest; Cindy, a princess who has been tricked into thinking she is ugly; Aspartme, the good witch of the South; Splenda's mother; and the Fairy Godmother, who has an evil plan.

Following a short intermission, RiverSong's award-winning quartet Aurora will be showcased. Aurora took third place in last year's Sweet Adeline Regional competition.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children under 12 and may be purchased at the door.

RiverSong has taken first place overall 13 times, earning the privilege of representing its region at the international Sweet Adelines competition. RiverSong is proud to have placed second in its division in the 2012 Regional competition.

Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers coming to Maryville

On Sept. 20, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers will be performing at the 16th annual Round for Research golf tournament, benefiting multiple sclerosis research. The golf tournament, started by Kathy Van De Ven, draws participants from all across the United States to Maryville, Mo.

Coming from one of the most influential zydeco families in the world, Dwayne Dopsie and his band have mastered zydeco music by adding a bit of rhythm and blues, funk, rock and roll, reggae and pop to their performances. This indie musician was named "The Hottest Accordionist" in America for his ability to both work the crowd and pump out musical harmony in grandiose fashion.

Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers will perform from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sept. 20 at The Palms, and tickets may be purchased at the door for $10. For more information about Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, visit www.dwaynedop sie.com. For information about the Round for Research golf tournament, visit www.supportmsresearch.org.

Shea Conner can be reached at shea.conner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedotcom.

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