Laugh­ter heals in ‘Menopause The Mu­si­cal’

Cast of sur­vivors help do­nate to can­cer re­search

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - ON STAGE - By Rod Stafford Hag­wood

“Menopause The Mu­si­cal” takes the se­ri­ous topic of go­ing through “the change” and light­ens it up with par­ody lyrics to hit songs from the ’ 60s, ’ 70s and ’80s.

But with this tour making a stop at Co­ral Springs Cen­ter for the Arts on Jan. 12, there is an added mean­ing. Ti­tled “Menopause The Mu­si­cal: The Sur­vivor Tour,” this road tour has a cast of breast can­cer sur­vivors and co-sur­vivors. The show, pro­duced by Fort Laud­erdale’s GFour Pro­duc­tions, do­nates a por­tion of ticket sales to breast can­cer re­search through the Susan G. Komen or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We have raised money for women’s causes for a long time, al­most from the be­gin­ning,” says Seth Green­leaf, the show’s di­rec­tor and a Tony Award­win­ning part­ner at GFour Pro­duc­tions. “I think we’ve raised some­thing like $1 mil­lion dol­lars for things like ovar­ian can­cer. [Komen] seem like a nat­u­ral part­ner­ship for us.”

“Menopause” has toured al­most con­stantly for 13 years and has played Harrah’s in Las Vegas for nine years. The mu­si­cal has toured 450 U.S. cities and 15 coun­tries. Green­leaf says that the GFour pro­duc­ers were con­sid­er­ing what next to do with the the­atric fran­chise when they re­al­ized that many of the ac­tors who were in pro­duc­tions were can­cer sur­vivors, enough to do a cast. “And not just a cast, but a really, really good cast,” adds Green­leaf.

One of the cast mem­bers of the Sur­vivor Tour, Me­gan Ca­vanagh, says she has been When: Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. Where: Co­ral Springs Cen­ter for the Arts, 2855 Co­ral Springs Dr., Co­ral Springs Cost: Tick­ets are $32.86, $43.46, $54.06 and $64.66. Con­tact: 954-344-5990, or Co­ralSpringsCen­ter ForTheArts.com with the show for 11 years, first as an un­der­study and then as a cast mem­ber in Chicago-based and San Francisco-based pro­duc­tions. She toured with the show in Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia.

“And then I got breast can­cer,” says Ca­vanagh, who has ap­peared in movies such as “A League of Their Own,” “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” as well as sev­eral tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances. “I was out of the show for nine months. I was di­ag­nosed in Fe­bru­ary 2014 and I went back in the show that fall. I had chemo ra­dia- tion and surgery, lots of surgery, and a par­tial mas­tec­tomy. I went on and I had no hair. Af­ter the show so many women we hug­ging me and say­ing, ‘I’m a breast can­cer sur­vivor too.’ ”

Ca­vanagh adds that for her be­ing in “Menopause The Mu­si­cal: The Sur­vivor Tour” is a con­tin­u­a­tion of that dy­namic, with women com­ing on­stage af­ter the show to share their sur­vivor sto­ries with the cast.

“It’s sort of like kick­ing the door down to be out,” she says. “To say ‘I’m a sur­vivor’ and be out about it. It’s not only em­pow­er­ing to women who have had menopause, but for women who have gone through can­cer. Look, at the end of the day, we’re making peo­ple laugh so hard that their cheeks hurt. Making peo­ple laugh is heal­ing. That’s what it is.”

THOMAS J. KING/COUR­TESY

Linda Bos­ton, Me­gan Ca­vanagh, Judy Blue and Teri Adams star in “Menopause The Mu­si­cal: The Sur­vivor Tour,” com­ing to the Co­ral Springs Cen­ter for the Arts on Jan. 12.

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