Menopause the Musical, a "hilarious celebration of women and The Change," is coming to the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
It is described as, "Four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more! This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the '60s, '70s and '80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles! See what millions of women worldwide have been laughing about for over 10 years!"
The Sun-Gazette had the chance to catch up with Sandra Benton, an actress from the musical.
The stars of “Menopause the Musical” are pictured, clockwise from left: Annette Verdolino, Sandra Benton, Kathy St. George and Megan Cavanagh.
LYNDSEY HEWITT: As an actor what methods do you practice to get into a character?
SANDRA BENTON: I have my own rituals for prepping for my character which include listening to music and putting on my makeup. My prep time starts about three hours before showtime, warming up my voice and my body. Quiet time, thinking about who my character is and what she wants, brings "Professional Woman" (Benton's character) into focus.
LH: Who are some of your favorite actors in the industry? Who inspires you?
SB: My biggest inspiration in the business is Bette Midler. She's had the kind of career I would want for myself. Actress, singer, dancer, recording artist ... she does it all. No boxes, no limits. Aside from Bette, I admire Melissa McCarthy for her bold, take no prisoners type of comedy. We haven't seen that approach to comedy from a female since Lucille Ball. I hope to be that brash and unafraid in my comedy choices.
LH: What are some of your favorite plays?
SB: I love any live theatre experience I can have. It doesn't matter if it's good or bad because you learn something from both. I love the classics, from the Greeks to Shakespeare. To the newer classics, from Arthur Miller to Tracey Letts and everything in between.
LH: When you're on tour, what do you do to pass the time?
SB: Play games. Especially Words With Friends. I like games that make you think.
LH: When you were young, is this what you pictured yourself doing?
SB: Yes. I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I have never seen myself in any other industry.
LH: Is this like a comedy mixed with educational sort of themes for women?
SB: I would say it is a comedy that acknowledges the universal truth of our humanity as women. We are not trying to teach you anything except we are all the same and we are not alone in our struggle. If your particular issue comes up in the midst of the show and you happen to learn something, then so much the better.
LH: Are there a lot of men in the audiences or primarily women?
SB: Even though we have predominantly female audiences, we do get and encourage men to come to the show. There are moments in the show that are designed for guys and they leave the show feeling great about themselves as well.
LH: What are some of the most memorable moments you've had on tour?
SB: I love that I get to go to great places and see things that I otherwise would probably never get to. Elvis' birthplace, Lincoln's tomb, Buddy Holly museum, The Remington Museum, The Cadillac Ranch, 6th Street in Austin, Texas .... just to name a few places. The United States is full of treasures and when we have free time we try to see as much as we can of what's around.
LH: Can you tell me what this musical means personally, to you, as a woman?
SB: This musical represents a sisterhood to me. You cannot help but to bond with the women in the show and the women who come see the show. No matter who you are or where you are from, you will see some part of yourself on stage.
LH: Have you heard of any ... conservative types detest the fact that there is a widescale musical like this that touches on subjects that are historically taboo?
SB: I think all the subjects in the show are handled in a very funny, tasteful way. I believe that the subject of the show is no longer taboo and ultimately we have our audiences best interest at heart. I think that far surpasses any misunderstandings that may arise occasionally. Those times are very few and far between.
LH: What are some challenges you face as an actress?
SB: My biggest challenge is fatigue. This is a nonstop 90 minute marathon and we are middle aged women. It's taxing vocally and physically and we don't bounce back as quickly as we once did.
LH: Favorite venue/city to perform at?
SB: Each venue has its own uniqueness and personality. I loved the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss. Great people and great food. Fantastic views of the Gulf Of Mexico and wonderful bathtubs!
LH: Future goals and aspirations?
SB: To do more film and television. Preferably my own situation comedy!
LH: What is your background and can you tell me a bit about your journey in this career?
SB: Southern girl from North Carolina grows up, moves to the big city and studies her craft. She has a great deal of fun being an artist and the journey is still being written...
For more information about the musical, visit www.menopausethemusical.com. For tickets, visit caclive.com.