I’ll get this out of the way up front: if you looked around the audience and guessed who the director might be, you wouldn’t pick me. In fact, I would likely be the last person anyone would suspect. I was more of an accidental choice after the author, Jeanie C. Linders had worked with a couple of different directors before me. I was producing the show at the time, and what I was always drawn to was the connection it created, and the healing alchemy of the laughter.
Then, about 7 years ago, the director we were using had a conflict and couldn’t make a scheduled production. I volunteered to direct that one production, with a cast who had done the show before. My original training was as a director so I felt I could fake my way through one staging. Jeanie, the author, happened to come by when that production was running. She decided afterwards that no one else was allowed to direct the show, and despite my resistance, I had to keep the playwright happy. I was suddenly the national director of Menopause The Musical®, as a 30-something-year-old man.
It makes for a fun story, and even funnier company photos, but the truth is, the show is about people, women in this case, celebrating their achievements, not their losses. It’s also about knowing that you’re not alone, which is a vital component for healing. Jeanie and I had the same vision for the show, and the rest—the humor, the sass, the personal understanding of menopause—was already in the script.
When my company began producing Menopause The Musical® years ago, some places didn’t even want the title on the marquee. Fenway Park, in fact, wouldn’t put the name on the Jumbotron when our actors sang the National Anthem there for the first time. Seeing how the world reacted to the word alone, you can imagine the inner shame women were carrying. The show has transformed hundreds of thousands of women, one performance at a time, from believing they were alone with a shameful sentencing, to knowing they were part of a sisterhood. A sisterhood of brave, accomplished women who were now free from any responsibility nature had put on them, and ready to take their acquired wisdoms and strengths and apply them to anything they wanted in life. Most importantly, themselves.
Menopause is a rebirth. It is something to be celebrated and honored. A rite of passage for reaching this point in life, something our ancestors rarely did. And the gift is a return to self. What do women want to do in the second act of their lives? This healing pill is wonderfully disguised in the form of laugher and music, which “helps the medicine go down,” and the journey rightly ends in celebration. A woman’s reproductive abilities are the magic that created us all, but it is only part of the magic they bring to our lives.
Our team at GFour Productions is so happy to be returning to the beautiful Ogunquit Playhouse to premiere this upgraded version of the show, and I’m personally thrilled to finally work with Bradford Kenny and his top-notch team after years of admiring their productions. We certainly hope you enjoy “The Change” as much as we do.
Seth Greenleaf, Director