Actress Liz Hyde is reprising her role as a middle-aged housewife in Menopause The Musical. The show is filled with parodies of songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s about getting older and going through menopause. Hyde has been with the show 71/2 years and tours across the U.S. She said it never gets old for her because the topics are always relevant to women of a certain age and the men who love them. Joanne Spataro
Q. How did you become a full-time actress? I started off doing community theater in Gastonia, where I grew up. As an adult, I was doing things for fun, as a hobby at night. Long ago I thought about trying to go on Broadway, but I didnt want go up there, I just didnt want to face all that. I think its a hard life, a lot of auditioning and rejection. Im just not a big-city gal. Im more of a smaller city person. When (Menopause the Musical) happened, it just fell in my lap.
Q. What is your character as the Iowa housewife like? Im a typical housewife who has gotten her power from being a wife and mother and shes in the big city of New York for the first time. The other women (I meet) include a Power Woman, a Soap Star whos aging and losing jobs because of it, and an Earth Mother who is kind of lost in the 60s. We meet at Bloomingdales at a lingerie sale and realize we have a lot in common. Through the show, we empower each other.
Q. How do you relate to her? The part was written for a woman who is over 40 and over a size 10, and Im definitely that. Ive felt a little held back by my weight and self-conscious about it. But (my character) doesnt have to do the nice thing. She can stick up for herself. Over the years, I have come to realize that too. Im at peace with how I look. Theres a lot of self-acceptance that goes with that.
Q. What does the audience get from the performance? Its so much more than just going to see a play or musical. The show is a real experience because its one thing to share your symptoms with your friends and commiserate, and its a whole other to have an audience of 500 or more laughing at the same thing. You realize youre not alone.
Q. Where do male audience members fit in? Honestly, even if they come in a little apprehensive, men enjoy the show every bit as much as the women do. Men get a better understanding of what their wives are going through and also see themselves because we talk about gaining weight, where you left the keys (memory loss), things we deal with as we get older.