News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Change, change, change
Here's a hot flash - Learn to laugh about 'the change' with 'Menopause
the Musical'

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

Fifty years ago, it wasn't discussed in public, and it wasn't funny.

"Menopause the Musical," however, may be the hilarious result of women's liberation-movement believers hitting the hormone therapy era.

Picture this: four women meet by chance while sorting through the black lace bras on sale in Bloomingdale's and break out in song and laughter about "the change."

You can laugh along with the jokes about hot flashes when this traveling show opens Friday for a six-week run in Huntsville.

This also may be your first chance to see a new performing arts venue, Merrimack Hall. Three matinees and three evening performances are scheduled Wednesdays through Sundays of each week.

The music parodies 25 baby-boomer hits from the 1960s, '70s and '80s, such as "Puff, My God I'm Draggin' " and "Stayin' Awake, Stayin' Awake."

The comedy pokes fun at night sweats, memory loss, mood swings, wrinkles, eating binges, too much sex, not enough sex and more.

Jeanie Linders, writer and producer of "Menopause the Musical," took this topic from a "silent passage" to an entertaining evening.

"Most women know intuitively that every other woman is experiencing hot flashes or night sweats," she said, and they have a close friend or two with whom to sympathize.

"But when they are sitting in a theater with 420 other women, all laughing and shouting 'That's me! That's me on stage!' they know what they are experiencing is normal. They aren't alone, or crazy. It becomes a sisterhood."

By the time she turned 56, Linders had been a teacher, an arts and development consultant, president of an ad agency and author of "Womankind," a book of poetry for and about women.

Since her first show opened in Orlando in 2001, the hot flashes of menopause have been fanned with programs in more than 100 U.S. cities, as well as in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Israel, Italy, United Kingdom and Canada.

A touring production was in Birmingham earlier this year.

Through the sale of souvenir items, the show funds the Entertainment to Empowerment Foundation, which awards grants and sponsorships to groups dealing with issues such as sexual assault, domestic violence and ovarian cancer education.

If you go

What: “Menopause the Musical”

Where: Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center, 3320 Triana Blvd. S.W., Huntsville

When: Six-week run beginning Friday; shows scheduled at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays

Tickets: $39.50 plus handling fees; call 534-6455 or purchase at the hall box office or online at www. merrimackhall. com.

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