Thank you, thank you 50 Shades! The Musical. You have validated my objections to the glorification of female submissiveness touted in the book Fifty Shades of Gray. Plus you have done it in a clever fun musical where one has to laugh at the idiocy of female submission. This show originated in 2012 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It has had several incarnations in other cities. The New York production takes place on the second floor of an ordinary building. Getting off the elevator you are transported into a comical sleazy bordello room. Lively music greets you. Then upon entering the theater flashing lights add to the disco excitement. Then the announcement: “this play is sixty nine (!) minutes”, and the games begin. The audience was mostly women, but it would easily appeal to men.
Three women in a book club decide to read “Fifty Shades…” for some excitement. The action then takes us inside the book. We meet Anastasia, the talented Amber Petty with a big broadway voice. Brava, an unsvelte leading lady. She is a frustrated virgin who sings with great sincerity: “I Wish I Had Something Big To Fill The Hole Inside Me.” She is sent to interview the hero, Christian, a kinky tycoon. Rather than the handsome, fit man of the book is the wonderful actor/singer/dancer Chris Grace who could pass for the large, also unfit Josh Gad of “The Book of Mormons”.
Christian takes Anastasia to a club. Other cast members appear. Everyone dances to the three, never overwhelming musicians. This band, directed by Michael Thomas Murray uplifts throughout the evening; from styles of Gilbert and Sullivan to gospel and everything in between. Five people are responsible for the crazy lyrics: “I Don’t Make Love I F…” , “I Care So Much About You I Want To Beat the Crap Out of You”.
The two do fall in love, but the heroine also realizes; “sometimes you can fill your own hole.”
There are five book writers. What a free for all that collaboration must have been. There is one choreographer, Mindy Cooper. There are two directors; Al Samuels and Rob Lindley. They all skillfully move this cast of ten around on a small stage. The song “How Much More Can I Take?” referring to their bondage is cleverly staged like protesting Les Miz revolutionaries. The costume and set design was done by John Dunnett. His contributions perfectly fit the production. The rousing gospel finale, “There Was A Hole Inside Of Me”, features his sparkly glitter costumes.
Who knew bondage and discipline could be so much fun!!
Written by: Al Samuels, Amanda B. Davis, Emily Dorezas, Jody Shelton, Ashley Ward
Music and Lyrics: Al Samuels, Amanda B. Davis, Dan Wessels, Jody Shelton, Ashley Ward, Direction: Al Samuels, Rob Lindley, Costume and Set Design: John Dunnett, Lighting Design: Herrick Goldman, Musical Director: Michael Thomas Murray, Choreography: Mindy Cooper
Cast: David Andino, Kaitlyn Frotton, Chris Grace, Adam Hyndman, Tim Murray, Amber Petty, Casey Renee Rogers, Alec Varcas, Ashley Ward, Chloe Williamson
Venue: Elektra Theater, 300 West 43 Street
For tickets and info: 866 811 4111