MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL at Bucks County Playhouse Celebrates Women

Hot flashes, sweats, mood swings, bladder control issues, and laughs abound as GFour Productions closed its two-week run of MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA. MENOPAUSE is a virtual shopping spree, as four middle-aged ladies of differing backgrounds spend a day bustling about Bloomingdale’s Department Store in New York. While rummaging through bras, shoes and cosmetics, they commiserate via 25 musical parodies of well-known tunes, their exasperation associated with hormonal imbalance. The middle-aged strangers’ new friendships provide the strength and courage they need to overcome any physical or emotional challenge. The fast-paced script was written by a woman, for women and about women.

Playwright Jeannie C. Linders’ has empowered millions of women since the show’s debut in Orlando on March 28, 2001. It opened off-Broadway in 2002 and ran for 1,500 performances. The continued staging of MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL around the country for the past 8 years by GFour Productions’ producers Alan and Kathi Glist, Kenny and Sandy Greenblatt, and Seth Greenleaf, has lifted the shroud of secrecy surrounding ‘the change’ allowing women and men to speak more openly about its complexities around the house, in the media and on the streets. Following tours in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand and the U.K., MENOPAUSE has been seen by more than 11 million people.

The four stars in this northeast production include Linda Boston (Professional Woman), Cherie Price (Soap Star/Dance Captain), Megan Cavanagh (Earth Mother), and Annette Houlihan Verdolino (Iowa Housewife).

Linda Boston is a powerhouse of a singer and a presence to be reckoned with. She rocks a pantsuit like nobody’s business. Boston transitions from a successful career in Boston radio and went on to sing for several presidents of the United States, worked with many celebrity actors, and started her own non-profit organization to help individuals pursue their own creative experiences. Her parody of Tina Turner in this production is ‘spot on’.

Cheri Price knows what she is dishing out. Never get tired of watching a dancer move on stage. They have an awareness of their surroundings that assures you that they could navigate blindfolded through a china shop. Price has that gift and the vocals to back up the dance chops. She makes it hot to be a middle aged woman. She also bridges the divide of the proscenium stage by stepping down into the audience and flirting with a man in the second row in a way that makes the audience feel like voyeurs.

Of course…Megan Cavanagh yet again illustrates how to make you notice her without warning. She is electric on stage and her particular brand of physical humor mixed with all of her crazy vocal ability keeps the audience gasping for air in between laughs. Patrons may remember Cavanagh as the steal-the-show Marla Hooch in the movie, A League of Their Own, Broomhilde in Robinhood: Men in Tights, among others. She has appeared as a TV Guest on West Wing, ER, Will & Grace and Friends, and has been in the cast of MENOPAUSE since 2004.

Annette Houlihan Verdolino as Iowa Housewife assuredly blossoms from shrinking violet to sexually emancipated woman-in-charge in the bedroom, at least that is what one hopes. Her character gives other women permission to realize that it’s never too late to learn and grow and love themselves. Houlihan Verdolino has opened for Cyndi Lauper, performed at the Obie’s and has also joined the Vegas cast of MENOPAUSE.

Clever forethought went into the parodies in this musical – “The Great Pretender” harps on memory loss and how women cover up their hormone-impaired forgetfulness; “Puff, My God, I’m Draggin’ delivers revised lyrics of “Puff the Magic Dragon”, and “My Thighs” from the ‘60s song “My Guys,” had an inordinate amount of guests visiting the bathrooms during the show (distracting).

Some patrons joined the kick line at the show’s final number, others purchased memorabilia such as t-shirts, “Beware of Mood Swings,” or “I’m Still Hot, It Just Comes in Flashes.”

The production team includes: Christopher R. Wood, Company Manager, Jenny Jacobs, Production Stage Manager, Jeffrey D. Holmes, Assistant Stage Manager, Gary Demumbrum, Technical Director/Lighting Supervisor, Heatherlyn Egan, Advance Technical Director, and Kate Wecker, Audio Supervisor. Musical accompaniment (prerecorded) includes Michael Dubay, Keyboards, Don Meoli, Drums and Jonathan Rem, Bass.

The production moved from Bucks County, PA to Salisbury, MD, with continuing stops in Frederick, MD, Manassas, VA, Lafayette, LA and then Houston. For more details visit GFour Productions at www.menopausethemusical.com.

MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL
Bucks County Playhouse
70 S. Main Street
New Hope, PA
January 21–February 1, 2015
215-862-2121
www.bcptheater.org

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Gina Vitolo-Stevens

Gina Vitolo-Stevens

Gina has been immersed in theatre most of her life –as a dancer/actor in Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas and New England. She earned a BFA (1982) both in Broadcast Communications and PR Journalism. She interned in the Promotions Division of the NBC-TV Affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth, then worked as a radio talent in music then news, and eventually transitioned to print publications. She has also managed programs and special events for various organizations such as The United Way, major shopping centers, commercial developers, and eventually the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. Gina has helped charter chapters of an international sorority – Alpha Delta Pi. She has also been a member of AFTRA – the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. She served as assistant, contributing and senior editor of a Palm Beach County social magazine, and major newspaper publishing company in Bucks County and New Jersey. A veteran director since 1986, she has assembled powerhouse casts and productions up and down the east coast. Her latest productions of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, OLIVER! OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS and LITTLE WOMEN were financial and artistic successes. She served as a Board Officer, choreographer and artistic director with various theatre groups for four decades, working last summer as a costume, hair and props specialist with Chester Theatre Group at the Black River Playhouse. She has interviewed current and former presidents, television News Bureau Chief of MSNBC, Chris Matthews, Cokie Roberts, and international celebrities of the stage and screen for radio, magazine, newspaper and television. She was the recipient of the 30th American Advertising Federation Addy Award for Creative Concept and Copywriting, and locally Town and Country Players 2006 Rafters Award. She is proud to be back at STAGE Magazine as a reviewer.

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