BWW Previews: MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL is Coming to DC's Warner Theater
Friday the 13th is a lucky day for DC theater-goers. That's the day that the touring production of MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL will open at the Warner Theatre for three performances through Saturday, June 14th.
The show, produced by GFour Productions, which has also produced such hits as MATILDA THE MUSICAL and THE BOOK OF MORMON, is an ensemble production with a cast of four, all women. Kathi Glist, one of the founders of GFour, and Sandra Benton, one of the performers, spoke to BroadwayWorld.com via email about MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL.
Kathi says that the show provides "Humor Replacement Therapy" and allows women to enter the theater "as strangers and leave as friends sharing a common bond." The show's prime demographic target - women ages 35 to 65 - are the ones whom, she believes, change a market when they embrace a particular show. She notes that "rarely has there been something that has brought as much passion, sense of community and loyalty to that demographic than has the MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL brand." She adds that the show has given her the chance to connect as "part of the sisterhood that is formed with our mostly female audience members."
Sandra Benton, who plays the "professional woman," says, "We all come at the show from a place of common understanding as women," who " can communicate in a short hand on some things," through "a look or a glance." This is one of the things that, according to Sandra, makes appearing in MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL different from performing in a show with a mixed-sex cast. The small size of the cast creates differences as well because "there is no place to hide." She says, "The singing has to be on point, the dancing, the acting," and there is no opportunity to "get lost in the throng of a big chorus." She likens appearing in MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL to a ninety-minute marathon, and, for the audience, a roller-coaster ride.
MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL has run in Las Vegas for nine years, at the Luxor Hotel - according to Kathi, it is the longest running book musical in Las Vegas's history. (In contrast, the 95-minute Las Vegas version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA ran at the Venetian for only a bit over six years). Kathi calls Las Vegas "by far the trickiest market in the country," although Sandra believes that Las Vegas audiences attend "with the expectation of having a good time" because the city is a "party town." "On tour they are ready to be entertained but sometimes, they are not sure exactly why or how," although, according to Sandra, the touring audiences often have heard about the show "from a friend of a friend who said it was the funniest thing they had ever seen and they needed to check it out," and then "they pass the word on to their friends and the cycle continues." While the touring audiences in some places "can be a little more reserved" than in other cities, she believes that, "as a whole, they all get it in a big way."
Kathi and Sandra both agree that the show appeals to men and to younger women as well as to women in the age demographic likely to be experiencing hot flashes. Kathi says the men enjoy the "toe-tapping musical parodies" of songs from the 1960's through the 1980's, but that they also seem to appreciate the educational value regarding what women go through during that phase of their lives. She says that one man in Seattle exclaimed that the show "should be a mandatory workshop for all men," and that one man in New Jersey remarked that if he had seen the show a few weeks earlier, he might still be dating his girlfriend. Sandra adds that more than one man has exclaimed, "If I had seen this a few years ago, I might not have gotten divorced." She says, "There are specific moments in the show that are for the guys and they love them very much!"
We asked what's next for Kathi and Sandra. Kathi is hoping that GFour will win more Tony awards for THE GLASS MENAGERIE and LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL. The company is also rolling out MENOPAUSIA EL MUSICAL, the Spanish-language version of the show. Sandra sings, does voice-overs, teaches, directs, produces, and writes, and works in film and television as well as theater. She says, "I think you have to wear many hats in this business." She adds that she is scheduled for some singing engagements and is working on an album of gospel music. "Then back to LA to try and land a sit-com or movie." She says that using "creativity in many ways" helps ensure "you will never become obsolete."
MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL will appear at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004, Tel: 202.783.4000, Fax: 202.783.0204, www.warnertheatredc.com, Friday, June 13, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets $35-$65. Note that there are no elevators in the theater.