“Menopause the Musical” is no hot flash.
For the past 12 years, the show has steadily burned for the Fort Lauderdale-based producers GFour Productions. It has toured 450 cities in 15 countries, with just over 3,000 performances. This weekend, “Menopause” comes back to its producers’ hometown for a run at Parker Playhouse.
Kathi Glist, one of GFour’s founding partners, knew she was seeing boffo box office in 2001, when she caught an early incarnation of the musical in West Palm Beach.
“What I really saw was how the audience was reacting to it,” Glist recalls. “I had never seen a reaction from an audience like that. I was very moved by this groundswell. It was a happening.”
Marketing executive Jeanie Linders wrote the show while going through menopause, finding it easy to write parody lyrics to songs from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s to illuminate and ruminate on “the change.”
“There are a lot of parodies out there, but I don’t think they’ve nailed it like Jeanie did,” Glist says. “We don’t just poke fun at [menopause], because, you know, it can be kind of serious.”
Originally staged in 2001 in a converted perfume shop in Orlando, the show quickly began to sell out houses. GFour’s international contacts helped expand the show’s reach. Most recently, the company helped to produce Broadway’s “Matilda the Musical” and the revival of “The Glass Menagerie” starring Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones.
Speaking of “Menopause,” Glist adds, “We’ve been in Las Vegas for nine years now. It’s the longest-running book musical in Las Vegas.”
“Menopause the Musical” has traveled to Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Factoring in a 2002-2006 run off-Broadway, GFour estimates nearly 11 million people have seen the production.
“Now, it’s not perfect thea-tuh,” Glist says. “It’s not Sondheim or Shakespeare. But the appeal is not only the theatergoing crowd, but laypeople. They buy it like they would buy a movie ticket. We’ve never had a show like this. Women come in as strangers and leave as friends. It’s a sisterhood.”
“Menopause the Musical” will appear March 14-16 at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost from $38.69 to $59.89. (VIP packages are available for an additional $35.) Call 954-462-0222 or go to ParkerPlayhouse.com.