Ten years ago, entertainment executive Jeanie Linders hosted the world premiere of “Menopause the Musical” right here in Orlando.
That show, which is still being performed, is an international megahit and has been staged in 15 countries and more than 450 cities.
Now the Winter Park resident is embracing another important time in a woman’s life — being a mom — with her new show “The Mommies – A Musical Blog”, which has its world premiere in Orlando on Friday, May 6.
As writer and lyricist, Linders teamed up with Marilyn Kentz and Caryl Kristenson to develop a theatrical show unlike any other. “Mommies” celebrates the life of mommies all over the world. With the humor of the ’90s NBC TV sitcom “The Mommies”, the musical steps into the 21st century, embracing the digital lives of today’s tech-savvy moms.
“What inspired a collaboration with Marilyn was the posting of a Facebook piece of Marilyn and her Mommies partner Caryl Kristensen rapping about living in a cul-de-sac,” Linders said. “I knew there was something there.
“The show is targeted to today’s mothers on several levels. The commonality of giving birth and raising children is the most obvious, but what is equally as important is that these characters communicate and support each other in cyberspace. So the women don’t talk to each other on stage — they twitter, text, blog and talk on cell phones.”
“Mommies” follows moms from pregnancy to empty nesting with laments about postpartum blues, tween challenges and a shout out for discipline help to the Super Nanny. “Mommies” has a cast of five and is set in cyberspace, where today’s moms seek advice and even therapy from their fellow bloggers.
“There are over 125,000 mom bloggers online, women who share mothering tips, coupons, new products, as well as the joys and pain of being a mother,” Linders said. “‘Mommies does for our 25- to 42-year-old audience what ‘Menopause’ did to the 45-plus demographic — it lets them know they are not alone and celebrates who they are in this part of life’s journey.”
Original songs include “Poop” (composed on kiddie instruments), “I’ll Always Be Your Mother”, and “Living in a Warzone”.
“Working with Kentz and Kristensen was fun,” Linders said. “They’re funny, clever women … more from the genre of stand-up comedy. I had a vision of what the show needed to be, and I knew the formula for the theatrical piece that I wanted to create.”
Staging for the five-woman cast is on a set created by Cindy White, a Disney imagineer, with two TV monitors as the backdrop. Music is by rock ‘n’ roll producer Jimmy Hunter of Los Angeles and multi-talented composer Michael Andrew of Orlando. The 90-minute show features all genres of songs from pop hits to big band and a court-side-cheer. Director Kathryn Conte and Choreographer Patty Bender bring Linders’ vision to the stage as they did with her first hit musical.
Concluding with a fist-pumping finale and the message that “mommies rock,” Linders has once again set the world premiere performance to take place here in Orlando on May 6 at the historic Plaza Theater on Bumby Avenue.
While Linders is best known for “Menopause”, she is a passionate voice for a generation of women facing more than just hot flashes. She has created her own foundation — the Jeanie C. Linders Fund — based on finding ways to help women connect and support one another.
Linders’ involvement in the arts includes work as a development consultant in the U.S. and overseas. For 10 years, she was CEO of an agency specializing in entertainment, launching shows from “A Conversation with Cary Grant” to multi-stage music festivals. She has also served as a columnist for The Chicago Tribune, The Sun-Times, The Boston Globe and Variety.