By Annamarya Scaccia
Jeanie Linders’ Menopause the Musical boldly celebrates hot flashes and mood swings with 90 cheeky minutes of reimagined oldies but goodies. After four years at the Society Hill Playhouse, 190,000 tickets sold and two closing date extensions, the Philadelphia production is finally coming to an end on April 27. It’s a gig original cast members Lois Sach Binder, 39, and CeCelia Ann Birt, 54, are going to miss, but they’re taking it in stride.
City Paper: After singing about it for four years, how do you feel about menopause?
Lois Sach Binder: If I can handle growing older with this much grace and humor, then I will have been a better woman for it.
CeCelia Ann Birt: It’s really no big deal. I think it never has been in my family because we’ve always talked about things like that.
CP: Do you think the show helps a lot of women as they go through menopause?
CAB: It helps them realize they’re not alone. It helps them to be around other women who have gone through it so they can communicate with each other.
LSB: At the end of the show, there’s an opportunity to bring the audience up onstage, and we have women come over and spontaneously embrace us and say, “You know, this is the best time I’ve had. I’m really able to laugh at all this and I feel really good about myself.” This particular show seems to touch people a little differently. There are some people who are struggling or they don’t know what to expect, and it’s a really unique opportunity to help empower people to feel good about themselves.
CP: I know your audience is mostly women, but do men enjoy the show, too?
LSB: I play the naïve Midwestern housewife, and at one point in the show, they’re discussing hot flashes and I say, “Oh, I’ve never had one.” And I hear this voice in the back of the house say, “Oh no, she’s gonna get it.” It was some guy who totally got the audience going. Things like that make us pretty happy. We’re like, “Yup. He’s living with a menopausal woman.”
CAB: Honestly, a lot of women will tell me that they’re happy that they’ve come. By the time the show is over with, they seem to have some sort of revelation. They sort of get it all of a sudden.
CP: What were some other memorable audience moments over the years?
LSB: We had about four or five guys sitting up front, easily under 30. At the end of the show, I went down and asked them, “What brought you out to Menopause?” The one guy said, “Well, you know, we thought it might be interesting. It’s a little scary.” And the guy next to him goes, “Actually, we’re here because we’re cougar hunting.” I heard you have to be 40 to be a cougar, so now I aspire to be a cougar. If it brings more young, attractive men to the theater, I say I’m all for it. I have a lot of single friends that are looking.
Menopause the Musical Thu.-Fri., April 17-18 and 24-25, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 19 and 26, 2 and 6 p.m.; Sun., April 20 and 27, 2 and 5:30 p.m.; $45, Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. Eighth St., 215-923-0210, societyhillplayhouse.org