Menopause — the period that ends periods. Roughly 1.7 billion women are in menopause, 70 million of them in the U.S., where this biological progression occurs, on average, at 51. "Menopause the Musical" is a concept musical comedy, with a theme suggesting an empowering sisterhood among all women of all nations.
And the men and boys in their lives, too.
"This show will never run out of relevance," said Donna J. Huntley, who plays Professional Woman, "because women will always have menopause."
She makes the point that the musical opens its arms to a huge number of people, not just females: those going through menopause; those who have it in their future; those who live with someone who is, has or will experience it.
Musical parodies famous songs across decades
The hilarious musical parody (to famous tunes from the 1960s-1980s) covers many of menopause's more notable side effects, such as hot flashes, sleeplessness, fatigue and feeling sad. Part of the sadness, as the show notes, comes from "children can no longer be bred ... my ovaries are dead" and the "fat grams" that sometimes bulk up the thighs.
To "Chain of Fools" music, the women sing, "My body tried to warn me ... change, change, change of life." And in another number (to the "Shoop Shoop Song"/ "It's in His Kiss"), "If you wanna know where the fat grams go, it's on my hips, yeah, yeah, that's where it is."
As the musical opens, four random women meet during a lingerie sale in a department store. Although they appear to have little in common, they do: a lace bra, memory loss, too little sex, too much sex, hot flashes, night sweats.
Nearly 17 million people in 16 countries have seen the show; it's the longest running scripted musical in the history of Las Vegas, where it won Entertainers of the Year 2016.
Maturing women, Huntley said over the phone, have a trainload of responsibilities, which she said can morph into frustrations. "Not feeling pretty anymore, wrinkles, gray hair, wearing a certain (clothing) size" can pull at self esteem. "You are more than that weight gain," she said.
"Also, we multitask," she said, referring to thinking of too many things in too short a period, which leads to confusion and being overwhelmed. "I just jumped off my bike and rushed into my house so I could call (for this newspaper interview)."
"Menopause the Musical" is meant to raise up women who feel age creeping in and sanity crawling out. "My bones are thinning," the women sing. "I can't sleep and I'm so itchy." The singers, however, find solace in knowing they aren't alone.
Huntley began touring with "Menopause" back in 2004 and left the show in 2008 to care for her parents. In 2014, she rejoined a tour until COVID-19 popped in, and her touring halted again.
The cast sings tight harmonies in several genres, including country and pop rock. "The show is about human nature. For 90 minutes the audience just laughs."
See 'Menopause the Musical' at Brown County Music Center
WHAT: "Menopause the Musical," book and lyrics by Jeanie Linders
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1
WHERE: Brown County Music Center, 200 Maple Leaf Blvd., Nashville
TICKETS: $26-$63 at browncountymusiccenter.com/
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: 'Menopause the Musical' comes to Nashville's Brown County Music Center