By christina fuoco-karasinski
‘Menopause the Musical’ star calls the comedy a ‘rollicking good time.’
When Megan Cavanagh joined the cast of Menopause the Musical in 2004, she thought it would be a quick six-week run.
Fast forward to 2017, and the actress is still hitting stages as Earth Mother in the comedy musical.
“I have a blast,” says Cavanagh, who starred as Marla Hooch in the film A League of Their Own. “I’ve been doing this show since 2004. If I wasn’t having fun, I wouldn’t still be doing it. The gals I work with are lovely. I love them all. I’ve been to every single state in the U.S. with this show, except Alaska and Hawaii. It’s a rollicking good time.”
Cavanagh and the cast are bringing Menopause the Musical to the Mesa Arts Center stage Wednesday, December 20, to Sunday, December 31.
Set in a Bloomingdale’s, the musical follows four women who meet in a lingerie department and poke fun at their woeful hot flashes, forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate binges.
“These women don’t have names,” Cavanagh says. “There’s a professional woman, a soap star, earth mother and a housewife. They meet at a lingerie table and realize they’re all going through different forms of menopause. They bond over that.”
The group sings nearly 26 songs that are parodies of hits. For example, “Chain of Fools” becomes “Change, Change, Change” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is reimagined to “My Husband Sleeps Tonight.”
“It’s really a good time,” she says. “It will make your cheeks hurt from laughing. These days, we need that.”
The humor is something Cavanagh appreciated when she joined the cast. However, now that she’s gone through menopause, the mood is slightly different. “I understand the audience’s reaction more, now that I’m in it,” she says. “At the time, I was astounded by the crazy reaction to the show.
“In 2004, too, I don’t think women were talking about menopause. They were living it alone, not realizing what their bodies were going through. A lot of women thought they were going crazy. But, no – we’re all in this together.”
These days, Cavanagh adds, women are “redefining themselves.” They know what it’s like to be fabulous and they can remain so, whether they’re having children or periods or not.
“Just because I’m not having children, it doesn’t make me any less of a woman,” she adds. “There is a consciousness that is developing. Look at the (Harvey) Weinstein scandal. Women are rising.
“We are wonderful, creative, amazing people, and we want to be treated with respect, right? This is the menopause cry. The women over 50 are saying, ‘We are fabulous, and we deserve respect. We’re going to live our lives to the fullest until we’re not here anymore.’”
Cavanagh, who splits her time between Los Angeles and her hometown of Chicago, says she considers the audience to be “the fifth girlfriend at the show.”
“I’ve had women come up to me after the show and say, ‘I’m a bit of you, and some of you,’” she explains.
“They really see themselves in it. That’s just lovely. That’s what theater should be doing. It’s an experiential event that people are relating to. That’s what theater is.”
for more info
What: Menopause the Musical
When: Various times Wednesday, December 20 to Sunday, December 31
Where: Mesa Arts Center’s Piper Repertory Theater, 1 E. Main Street, Mesa
Info: 480-644-6500, mesaartscenter.com