"Hats!"...is playing inside the showroom at Harrah's. It is a fun musical that chronicles one woman's anxiety over her impending fiftieth birthday and how she chooses to embrace the landmark event with the support of her friends. HATS features seven dynamic and compelling women whose unique approach to celebrating life appeals to audiences of all ages. The show centers around Maryanne and the wild cast of characters who accompany her on her journey toward the dreaded 5-0. HATS is inspired by the fun-loving lifestyle encouraged by the Red Hat Society, founded by Sue Ellen Cooper. The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a worldwide organization with over 30,000 chapters in all 50 states plus 25 countries offering fun, community and empowerment for passionate, likeminded women. RHS members believe in the joys of sisterhood at any age. The organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2008.
This is a fun and cute show, with a lot of cute songs, set among fun sets and cute costumes, with cute and fun characters...it is cute and fun. That's it. There are not any deep insights and no one will learn or understand anything on a higher plain. The show is very much like the RHS itself...if you're a woman over 50, and you don't feel right in your life, what should you do? Well, the answer seems to be, go play with friends.
You don't feel good about turning 50? Go play with friends. Out to sea because you now have an empty nest? Go play with friends. Divorced? Go play with friends...and the list goes on. And, of course, all of your friends can be provided by...wait for it...The Red Hat Society!
The show often plays like an extended infomercial, but the show certainly plays to its audience. For the veritable sea of red hats in the crowd, it is a celebration. It is an affirmation to their choices, their sisterhood, and their society. It also virtually guarantees an audience for this production for a long time.
Dolly Coulter plays Contessa, Maxine Weldon portrays Duchess, Corrie Sachs plays the Baroness, Jalayne plays Lady, Kathryn Arianoff stars as the protagonist Maryanne, and Terry Palasz plays Ruby. The swings include Lynn Steinhurst, Jane Kinsey, and Toni Malone.
It may feel as though I didn't care for this production, which really isn't the case. The show is well done. All of the performers do a great job. The songs are enjoyable to hear. The sets and costumes are great...it may be that I am so far outside their target audience that I just don't appreciate the show as well as the people that are inside of this target. For the women around me, it seemed as if this was manna from the heavens, and the production both enlivened and empowered them. For me...it was cute, and it was fun.
Perhaps I need to start a red cravat society.