What do Menopause and Mamma Mia! have in common? More than you might imagine. Menopause – the Musical and Mamma Mia! are currently playing across the street (Exhibition St) from each other in Melbourne. Both shows are doing big box office business. They both rely on previously existing musical material and feature some of the best musical theatre performers in Australia.

The young, vibrant cast of Mamma Mia! follows the production formula that has made the show a worldwide sensation. The �mature� cast of Menopause – the Musical is probably one of the best in the world. Mamma Mia! has latched on to the popularity and nostalgia of ABBA. Menopause – the Musical has popular rock and folk tunes but with new lyrics. For the predominantly female audience of Menopause – the Musical some find it nostalgic others inspiring. The lyrics in Menopause – the Musical sing about something that happens sooner or later to every woman in her life, and never gets celebrated. Yes, that’s what makes Menopause – the Musical so popular with female audiences. It is a celebration of this momentous and turbulent time in a woman’s life. The writing by Jeanie Linders is clever, witty and most certainly based on first-hand experience. That’s why women have been coming back again and again to see this show, increasing the sisterhood audience with new friends each time. Men (noticeably absent form the audience) in particular husbands would be well advised to go along to see this show too, if for no other reason than to know what goes on in the heads of menopausal women.

Menopause – the Musical is short and to the point. It runs 90 minutes without an interval and has special early performances on Monday and Tuesday nights that start at 6:30. Which means you’re on your way home or out to dinner before the show has even started (normal starting time being 8p.m.).

The Australasian tour of Mamma Mia! winds up here in Melbourne in June. The next pop musical to jump out of jukebox is Dusty-the Musical based on the life of Dusty Springfield and presented as the summer musical at The Arts Centre in January 2006.

Menopause – the Musical : Now playing – June 11, The Comedy Theatre – Melbourne

Produced by McPherson Touring; director, Gary Young; musical director, Paul Keelan; choreographer, Andrew Hallsworth

WITH: Jane Clifton, Caroline Gillmer, Diedre Rubenstein, Susan-ann Walker

Mamma Mia! : Now playing – June, Her Majesty’s Theatre – Melbourne

Produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East and Bjorn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in Association with Universal and Dainty Consolidated Entertainment; director Phyllida Lloyd; choreographer, Anthony Van Laast; musical director, Stephen Amos

WITH: Silvie Paladino, Kellie Rode, Emma Powell, Jennifer Vuletic, Bruce Roberts, Peter Hardy, Christopher Parker and John O’May.

Henry Sachwald 2005

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