SURREY — When a show called Menopause The Musical comes to town, one might be led to think it’s very much a “women’s night out” kind of production.
Not entirely so, say the co-producers of the musical parody, set to play Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre for two nights later this month.
“We like to say it’s MAN-datory for men to see the show,” said Mark Zimmerman in a conference call with Janet Martin, co-producer and actor.
“Every man who’s seen it, loves it,” Zimmerman raved, “and not only for the music but because it brings them closer to their spouse, their girlfriend, about what they’re going through.”
If you hadn’t heard, Menopause The Musical reworks classic old pop songs with the story of four women at a lingerie sale. In a department store, they have “nothing in common but a black lace bra and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more,” according to the show’s sales pitch.
In a Canadian touring production, Martin plays Iowa Housewife, who doesn’t sing lead in a lot of songs but has plenty to say to Professional Woman, Earth Mother and Soap Star, the other characters in the show.
Of course, the familiar songs riff on the troubles of menopause, with titles such as “I’m Flashing,” “My Husband Sleeps Tonight,” “Stayin’ Awake/Night Sweatin’” and, in one of the more inspired lyrical rewrites, “Puff, My God, I’m Draggin’.”
Zimmerman and Martin have been involved in producing Menopause The Musical since 2006, first in Toronto and later across Canada, starting in 2010.
“One of the reasons I’m so passionate about the show is, I’ve never been involved in a production that brings so much joy to audiences, it’s palatable,” Zimmerman said. “Honestly, we hear it all the time, that the only problem with it is that peoples’ faces hurt from laughing so much, and their ribs.”
Martin gets a lot of laughs in her role, Zimmerman said.
“It’s almost like a public service, some of it, because we have a chat with members of the audience,” Martin added. “It’s almost like therapy, because (menopause) can be a difficult time for women, although some breeze through it. There is safety in numbers, I suppose.”
Written by Jeanie Linders and first staged in Orlando in 2001, Menopause The Musical has been a hit in Las Vegas for more than a decade.
“It’s a highly recognized brand there,” Zimmerman explained, “and sell-outs (in Canada) are common because of that power of the brand. Maybe a woman, a man, who’s seen the show in Vegas, loves it, and now it’s coming to Surrey where she or he lives, and they tell friends that it’s coming there, and they probably want to see it.”
In Surrey, Menopause The Musical will be staged on Oct. 27 and 29 at the Bell. Tickets range in price from $40 to $66, plus fees and taxes, via bellperformingartscentre.com, or call 604-507-6355. The Oct. 27 show sold out early in September, prompting Live Nation Entertainment to add an Oct. 29 show in Surrey as part of a tour that includes a date at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre on Oct. 26.