MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL, national tour, Rose Wagner Center through March 2 (355-2787 or, running time: 90 minutes (no intermission)

The tickets aren't inexpensive, but group discounts are offered. After a friend and I saw the touring production of "Menopause the Musical" Wednesday night, we drove home talking about how much fun it would be to see the show with a big group of friends.

The songs consist of new words set to tunes from the 1960s and '70s. The musical features four women who look their age singing about how they don't look like they used to, singing and dancing to the music the majority of those in the audience used to dance to back when all of them did look good.

The "My Guy" adaptation is about getting fatter. "There's nothing I can do, 'cause it sticks like glue to my thighs."

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has been rewritten to be about mood swings, and it features some amusing growling and grousing by the actresses while they sing, "In the guest room or on the sofa, my husband sleeps tonight."

My friend, who is from a farm in Minnesota, felt an instant kinship with the character that comes to New York City from Iowa, the character played by Liz Hyde. And to be sure, Hyde can belt a song. But so can the others.

Monique Whittington plays the professional woman, the one who goes storming out of her office and into the conference room, only to forget what it was she was about to announce to her fellow employees. Whittington's voice is rich and throaty.

Nancy Slusser is the soap opera star, afraid she's about to lose her role to a younger woman. Slusser is an especially good dancer. Janis Roeton is the Earth Mother, a deep-breathing former hippie who finds it almost impossible to be zen now that she is no longer able to sleep. Roeton forged an instant connection with the audience.

On opening night, which was a preview night with discounted tickets, the sound system was occasionally too low. It was fine for the main singer but sometimes too low on the backup singers. (And if there is one thing those of us who grew up in the '60s love, it is the "shu-waps.")

There is something nice about the way the audience comes to feel about these four stars. At the end, when they trot out looking pretty, we are happy for them — and for ourselves.

"Menopause" is about simple stuff, really, about how now is a good time to be a woman and about how much fun we had when we were young. It could feel trite, but it actually doesn't.

Still, the musical is not for everyone. Some of my friends would not like the fairly explicit song that features a sex toy.

On opening night, perhaps about a tenth of the audience was male. And there were some younger women, too. After the performance, one of them announced she had not gone through menopause but she had enjoyed the preview.

Sensitivity rating: Several slightly suggestive songs and one extremely suggestive song and dance.

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