When the Springer Opera House announced that "Menopause, the Musical" for its 2008-09 season, the phones began ringing.
“It became clear that we might sell out ‘Menopause’ six months ahead of time if it stayed in Foley,” said Paul Pierce, the Springer’s producing artistic director. “Of course, we want to make this hit show available to everyone who wants to see it so we had to make this decision now or it would be too late. We knew that 'Menopause' was going to be big. We just didn’t know it would be this big.”
It wasn't just the musical that got people who wanted to buy season tickets to call earlier than usual. But season ticket renewals are coming in at three times higher than for the 2007-08 season.
In late March, Pierce began negotiations to move "Menopause, the Musical" from the 200-seat Foley Hall into the 600-seat Emily Woodruff Hall.
The contract was just signed with LOC Productions, who created the show.
"Menopause, the Musical" opens the Mainstage Series with a two-week run in September. "Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story" was going to open the season. Because "Menopause" moves to the Mainstage, the Springer will present "Why, Baby, Why? The Music of George Jones and Tammy Wynette" as the first Studio II Series in its place.
“ ‘Stand By Your Man’ is too elaborate for our smaller theater,” Pierce said. “With ‘Why, Baby, Why?’ we can still share the wonderful music of Tammy Wynette with our patrons, but in the intimate, informal setting of Foley Hall.”
“Why, Baby, Why?” is a rhinestone-and-denim tribute to the music of Wynette and Jones, including “Stand By Your Man,” “The Grand Tour,” “Golden Ring,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and “The One I Loved Back Then.” Wynette and Jones had 30 No. 1 hits and nine marriages between them, including one they shared.
As renewals of season tickets began coming in at such a high rate, Danielle Patterson, the Springer's box office manager, asked what show they wanted to see the most. Patterson said it was "Menopause." The campaign to recruit new season ticket holders has yet to begin.
Patterson also said that many people seemed motivated because one of this year’s perks for season ticket holders was the right to buy extra tickets to “Menopause” at a reduced price — before single tickets go on sale to the general public.
The renovated 2008-09 season schedule is now:
MAINSTAGE SERIES“Menopause, the Musical” — Sept. 18-21 and Sept. 25-28 “Father of the Bride” — Oct. 16-18, Oct. 23-26 and Oct. 30-Nov. 1“Hamlet” — Jan. 22-24, Jan. 29-Feb. 1 and Feb. 5-7“Big River” — March 5-7, March 12-15 and March 19-21“Red, White and Tuna” — April 30-May 16
STUDIO II SERIES“Why, Baby, Why? The Music of George Jones and Tammy Wynette— Nov. 6-9 and Nov. 13-15“Charm School” — April 16-19 and April 23-25HOLIDAY SHOWS“Peter Pan” — Nov. 28-Dec. 23“A Tuna Christmas” — Dec. 4-23