By A. Charlotte Rose
See video of ’50 Shades! The Musical’ dress rehearsal in New York.
Even if I had never read Fifty Shades of Grey, I still would have loved the thoroughly entertaining experience that is 50 Shades! The Musical. The fact that it is a genius send-up of the best-selling book by British author E.L. James, and her fans, made it completely hilarious.
I happened to be sitting next to a couple visiting from Portland, Washington – where some of Fifty Shades takes place – and the guy asked me a gazillion questions because neither of them had read the books. “We knew it was a cultural phenomenon,” he said. “So we wanted to see it.” But they laughed their heads off, proving that this parody is funny, in general.
But if you are a fan, you have to attend with someone who also is a fan! My friend Elise joined me and we continuously howled in laughter at the inside jokes. It was so much fun.
The musical centers around three women in a ho-hum private book club who decide to spice things up by reading the book everyone is talking about—Fifty Shades of Grey. These ladies are having their own erotic awakening as they read about Anastasia Steele’s adventures with Christian Grey. And, as they later admit, their sex drives are heightening, they are masturbating like crazy, and their love lives are getting a boost—a phenomenon reported by many women who read the book, which has sold 100 million copies worldwide.
The underlying message is women should be sexually liberated and should enjoy sensual fun. Yay!
It is difficult to discuss a theater experience like this without spoilers, especially since it is a very direct parody of the book. I will try not to reveal too much so you can have the same joy of hilarious discovery. But I will say this: Fifty Shades of Grey fans are extremely attached to their own personal image of Christian Grey. If you ask 10 fans who he looks like they will put forth the name of 10 different actors. 50 Shades! The Musical has a little fun with that. You will be stunned by Mr. Grey when he is revealed. And then, well, you may fall in love when you hear him sing, watch him dance, and hear him talk oh so dirty. Oh my.
Here are 11 hilarious and wonderful aspects of 50 Shades! The Musical.
1. The Book. It’s no secret that there have been detractors who think that Fifty Shades of Grey may not be well written, but fans love the simplicity of the writing and adore the love story between Christian and Ana. My first favorite thing is the program, which boasts that the show is: “The Original Parody of the Greatest Novel Ever Written.”
2. Anastasia Steele. She is an everywoman’s Ana– beautiful, normal-sized, dressed in cute clothes, and as adorable, funny, and sweet as the “real” Ana. This Ana has the most amazing singing voice and she played the innocent virgin well. Especially when she sang a song that exclaimed, ‘There’s a hole inside of me… I wish I had something to begin to fill this hole.” Because we all know that, in the book, she gets that and “more.”
3. Christian Grey. As hinted, he is a total surprise and he will totally get your attention. He is an amazing, sexy singer. And when he is on stage scantily clothed, sweaty, dancing, and singing, “I don’t make love… I fuck,” you will feel it. Yes, you will feel it, baby.
4. Taylor. He is half naked for the entire show… and that’s a good thing.
5. Jose. Played like a hyper-sexual Latin lover, ,every move he makes is in a jump, leap, or a tango. The camera equipment he uses to keep snapping photos of Ana is hilarious. When they come to the famous club scene where Ana gets drunk and pushes him away, she off course yells “No… no… no way, Jose!”
6. Kate Kavanagh. Ana’s BFF comes off like a slutty valley girl and we discover it was not a cold that sent Ana packing to her first fateful meeting with Mr. Grey. No, Kate was hung over. “I just need you to drive four hours out of the city to interview some weird, reclusive, cocky billionaire,” she says.
7. The Contract. The prop used as ‘The Contract” is hysterical and it set Ana off into contemplation, and song, about “his huge budging… contract. “
8. Charlie Tango. The stage became the sky for a tiny toy helicopter prop on a pole and string as Christian and Ana rolled in on a makeshift helicopter seats, arguing about the contract. To those who know and love Charlie Tango, it is quite fun.
9. The Red Room of Pain. There are hunky, bare-chested men to help reveal what is in Christian’s BDSM hideaway. And there is something new in there that belongs in the kitchen! You’ll spot it.
10. Spanking. There is enough to keep you satisfied.
11. The songs and music. One of the biggest surprises is how great this production is. It is completely professional with top notch performances. The music is entertaining and hilarious. One of our favorites is Christian and Ana singing they are just like, “Any Other Couple.” Ha!
Overall, they lampooned the “Greatest Novel Ever Written” in the most loving and hilarious way, with blatant sexual humor and fun sex talk. For us Fifty fans, they brought the story alive and gave us a fun night out as we wait for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
50 Shades! The Musical is at the Elektra Theater at 300 West 43rd Street. Check here for tickets and show times.
It’s written by Al Samuels, Amanda Blake Davis, Emily Dorezas, Jody Shelton, Ashley Ward, and Dan Wessels, and music and lyrics by Amanda Blake Davis, Jody Shelton, Ashley Ward, Al Samuels and Dan Wessels. Set and Costume Design is by John Dunnett, Lighting Design is by Herrick Goldman, and Sound Design is by Matt Kraus. It is choreographed by Mindy Cooper and Joy Dewing is the (brilliant) casting director.
The hilarious sound track, which we bought last night, is available on Amazon.
Reprinted from my Hot Romance column on The Three Tomatoes.