Menopause The Musical – Photo | visitowa.com
Band: “Menopause The Musical”
Date: January 21 – 26
Venue: OWA Theater, 205 N. OWA Blvd., visitowa.com
Tickets: $39.95 – $44.95, available at visitowa.com
From “Legends in Concert” to Brandon Styles, OWA is the region’s source for live entertainment experiences. Now, the OWA Theater invites the public to experience the onstage hilarity of “Menopause The Musical.” With help from characters such as Professional Woman, Soap Star, Iowa Housewife and Earth Mother, this long-running musical uses parodied versions of classic songs to give the audience an inside look at a subject that some might find taboo.
Seasoned stage, screen and voiceover performer Megan Cavanagh will be among the cast members performing in “Menopause The Musical” at the OWA Theater later this month. Cavanaugh is known for her work in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” “A League of Their Own” and “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.” Cavanagh was gracious enough to discuss “Menopause The Musical” with Lagniappe’s Steve Centanni.
Steve Centanni: You’ve had a pretty extensive career as an actor. You’ve done voiceover work as well as appearances on screen. You’ve also done stage work such as “Menopause The Musical.” Which do you prefer the most?
Megan Cavanagh: You know, that’s a loaded question. I love acting. I would say that theater is my first love, because it’s something that I discovered as a kid. I love the immediacy of the audience. It’s like playing jazz. Even though you’ve done the show many, many times, the audience is always different, and stuff can go wrong. So, there’s just sort of a in-the-moment thing about theater that I adore. Theater doesn’t pay very much [laughs], but in terms of filling your soul, it does. It fills my soul. I don’t know if I could make a living doing just theater, but I have certainly tried [laughs].
Centanni: With that said, what was it about “Menopause The Musical” that attracted you to it?
Cavanagh: There’s very little content for women of this age. This theater piece really speaks to these women, because it’s something that we’re all going through. For many decades before this show actually came out, it wasn’t even talked about. I feel like this show really helped open up the doors for women talking about what was going on in their bodies after childbirth and after raising kids and all that. It wasn’t talked about. Some people would even brusk at the word “menopause,” like, “You can’t talk about that!” That really brought me to the show. That’s what made me want to go see it before I ever even auditioned for it. The fact that it is really, really funny and I am a comedian. The audience is like a fifth girlfriend. These women will come up to you after the show and share extremely personal information with you, because they feel that they can. They’ve seen the show and feel like they’re your best friend. It’s hilarious and wonderful and terrifying and horrific at the same time [laughs].
Centanni: If there’s one message that “Menopause The Music” is wanting to state about the phenomenon, then what do you think it is?
Cavanagh: I would say that it is really about empowering women to know that their life is not over, and that they still have things to contribute, and they are a vital force in society. Your best years are not behind you. You can still achieve and contribute so much, even at an advanced stage. This piece is really fun and makes you laugh at a hard topic that isn’t very much fun or making you laugh in your life. The empowerment that comes with this shared experience is just bigger than me. The reason that this show is continuing is because it’s bigger than any of us. It’s taken a life of its own. I don’t know of a show that has lasted for this long and still sells out, and it does. It’s a total phenomenon. If there is one word that could encapsulate this show, then it’s about joy. It’s about living joy and experiencing joy and knowing that you’re OK, and you’re going to be better than OK.
Centanni: Your character is named Earth Mother. Tell me a little bit about Earth Mother.
Cavanagh: She meditates and does yoga, although she’s overweight. She’s a vegan, and she’s experiencing mood swings that aren’t cohesive with this way of life. She is upset that she’s having these mood swings, and they’re coming out of nowhere. They’re so not zen. In meeting these other women, she realizes that we’re all going through what we’re going through because our bodies are changing, and we’re going to be OK. You can experience that, and you can get right back up and continue on. That which does not kill you makes you stronger.
Centanni: How can you relate to your character?
Cavanagh: I am my character. I can totally relate to this character. I’ve been singing and dancing this character for so long. I’m in my 15th year with this show. On and off, I’ve done this show for 15 years. I’ve seen every state and been to Malaysia and Singapore with this show. I became my symptoms. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve sang this show for so long, but I had mood swings and night sweats and all the symptoms of my character. I started this show before I was in menopause. I’ve gone through the show and had a hysterectomy, which threw me into menopause and threw me hard. It’s funny because a lot of the symptoms that other women have I don’t necessarily have, but I have the ones that my character has. I don’t know if it’s mind over matter or what.
Centanni: What’s your favorite song from the musical?
Cavanagh: I get asked this a lot. I don’t know if I have a favorite. “Lion Sleeps Tonight” is “My Husband Sleeps Tonight.” It goes, “In the guest room or on the sofa, my husband sleeps at night.” It’s an ensemble piece. I start it, but it’s all four of us singing together. We’re all onstage pretty much for the entire show. There’s moments where somebody might get a solo and be out there by themselves on stage. Generally, we’re all onstage at the same time. It’s an exhausting 90 minutes for us as performers, because we’re old and huffin’ and puffin’, but it’s a blast. It’s just a blast. It’s 26 songs that we grew up with that are all parodies. I sing “Night Sweatin’,” which is “Night Fever.” “Stayin’ Alive” is “Stayin’ Awake.” “My Guy” is “My Thighs.” It’s silly, and it’s fun, and it’s just a good time. It’ll make your cheeks hurt from laughing — the ones on your face.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).