13 years in, 'Menopause the Musical' is still a hot hit
was a little more than 13 years ago that a show arrived in Las Vegas that gave new meaning to the word “menopause,” adding a capital letter and a lot of familiar tunes with lyrics that addressed aspects of “The Change” with an unusual, entertaining approach. Menopause The Musical is now the longest-running scripted musical on the Strip, and observed its anniversary in February with cake and celebration at its Harrah’s Cabaret home.
The show also celebrates its continued relationship with Cindy Williams, best known to television audiences as one-half of Laverne & Shirley. Williams, who remains active in theater, both hosts and appears as “the fifth girlfriend” during her engagements with the production rather than taking one of the four primary roles.
The current cast includes Vita Corimbi as Earth Mother, Jacquelyn Holland-Wright as Soap Star, Lori Legacy as Iowa Housewife and Lisa Mack as Professional Woman. (Understudy Cherity Harchis plays all four characters.)
The setting: a sale at a lingerie store. The premise: a lacy item binds the women of Menopause together, and they proceed to commiserate about end-of-menstruation frustration with satirical numbers inspired by hits from the ’60s to the ’80s. Thus, menopause itself is addressed with Aretha Franklin soul (“Change, Change, Change”). The humorous side of hot flashes is found through a parody of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave.” The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” morphs into “Stayin’ Awake,” and after Menopause the melody from The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” may come to mind whenever the subject of sex toys comes up.
It’s bawdy and risqué, intimate and interactive, with an onstage dance party closing out the end of each show. Men not only have been known to enjoy it, they can also become more woke. Menopause has helped many male audience members become more empathetic about night sweats, mood swings, forgetfulness and the extreme ends of the sexual arousal spectrum. They then have the potential to become better husbands, boyfriends, co-workers and primary platonic friends back home. There is no downside.
Unless they don’t adapt properly, of course. Then there is always the option of seeing Menopause again, as millions of women have done on stages around the world. Menopause will be performed extensively in Canada, Australia and the U.K. this year, but it’s had a year-round home in Las Vegas since 2005, when it opened at the Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate). Now Harrah’s is its headquarters, with a performance space that brings audience and cast closer together than Menopause could provide at its prior Vegas venues.
That’s important, as Menopause was meant to create a bond between the performers and the maternal figures, housewives, professionals and occasional daytime dramatic actresses who attend the show. That bonding experience is bolstered by the presence of Williams, who both sings and displays the characteristic comic timing she honed in ’70s sitcoms. People leave Menopause The Musical with a new attitude about The Change, and the realization that the idea of lingerie shopping in Las Vegas has taken on new significance.
Harrah’s, 4 & 7:30 p.m. Mon. & Sat., 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri., $50.15-$75.38 VIP plus tax and fee. 702.777.2782