• What: "Menopause the Musical"
• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9
• Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
• Admission: $36.50-$97
• Phone: 423-642-8497 or 423-757-5156
• Website: www.ChattanoogaOnStage.com
“Menopause the Musical,” by its name alone, is not going to appeal to everyone.
But when a sympathizing, empathizing, supportive audience populates the room, the energy is magic, according to Valerie Mackey, a cast member of the traveling regional musical that stops at the Tivoli Theatre on Friday, Aug. 9.
The comedic production, a celebration of women and their change of life, features four hot — temperature-wise — women who find that, despite their differences, they have at least one thing in common.
The musical, which introduces the women meeting at a department store lingerie sale, is told through parodies of classic songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
“The lyrics are so clever,” says Mackey, who portrays the Earth Mother, “and the arrangements are brilliant. It really catches you.”
Although most of the songs are ensemble pieces, each of the four women has a solo or two about the likes of hot flashes, forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate binges.
Mackey sings “Drippin’ and Droppin’ and Plinkin’ and Ploppin’” (think “Wishin’ and Hopin’ ”) and “Puff, My God, I’m Dragging” (“Puff the Magic Dragon”), emblematic of her sweating and her workouts, respectively.
“We’re going from the second we hit the stage for 90 minutes,” she says.
Mackey says her character could have been left over from Woodstock.
“I’m definitely part of the peace and love [generation],” she says, “and, still, in that, I like modern conveniences.”
A bra, for instance, is now her friend.
“I’m looking for the good in everything — the peace and joy and love of life while still going through the change,” she says.
The character, Mackey says, is not unlike her actual persona.
“When I stepped into this character, it was like sliding into a glove or shoe,” she says. “The lines came easily to me because it’s my way with my friends. I’m a smiley person, I love to hug — [to be] a very warm, supportive, loving Earth Mother.”
Mackey says although the audiences are primarily women, they get their share of men, who first proclaim to be “here for my wife.”
At the end, all that exists “is the commonality of being a human,” Mackey says. “[The men] recognize that. They’re dancing and enjoying it. It’s the human condition. The entire room feels the same thing, the magic of it. It’s a blast.”
Mackey has done the show since 2008, but this is her first tour with the other performers. The production’s fifth cast member, according to Mackey, is the audience. And it’s the audience that helps keep the show fresh each night.
After the show, Mackey says, audience members often tell the actors they’re “just like you.”
When that happens, she says, “there’s nothing like it in the world. It’s a sisterhood.”
<em>Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.</em>