Airports, Sex and 50 Shades! The Musical

Airports, Sex and 50 Shades! The Musical

Credit: Matthew Murray

I want to let you in on a little secret. Ready? I’ve read all three Fifty Shades of Grey novels. It wasn’t really my intention, but when I found myself stuck in LaGuardia Airport tasked with trying to find entertaining ways to occupy my time, it sort of seemed like a viable option. So I headed to the airport bookstore and purchased the first novel, all the while thinking to myself “okay, I’ll finally see what the fuss is about.” In an almost serendipitous twist of fate, I purchased the second book in the Akron-Canton (OH) Airport when my return flight to NYC was delayed. When said flight was eventually cancelled, I headed back to the airport a few days later and purchased the third novel. At this point, everyone and (particularly) their mothers has heard of and/or read British author E.L. James’ erotic tale of a mysterious billionaire and his sexual exploits with an innocent recent college grad. Of course, with anything that reaches the masses, the popular paperbacks leave themselves wide open to imitation and/or parody—I saw the latter earlier this week in the form of 50 Shades! The Musical.   

Currently playing in The Elektra Theatre at the Times Square Arts Center, 50 Shades! takes the slightly serious first novel and flips it on its head. The central protagonist, Anastasia Steele, played perfectly by UCB Theater alum Amber Petty, is unsure of love and inevitably finds it—or some facsimile—with the mysterious Mr. Grey, brilliantly portrayed by comedian Chris Grace—who, some might say, is physically the exact opposite of James’ description of the dashing character. All the supporting characters from the first novel make an appearance—including Anastasia’s roommate, Katherine Kavanagh (Kaityln Frotton) and friend José (Tim Murray)—portrayed as a lothario with a penchant for pelvis thrusting. A few scantily clad dancers and three titillated housewives round out the cast. The three women, armed with the novel and glasses of chardonnay, essentially serve as the Greek chorus and discuss the book (and their bedroom antics) as the action unfolds around them. Needless to say, with songs like “There’s A Hole Inside Me” and “How Much Can I Take” paired with some pretty suggestive dance routines and props, this isn’t a show for kids. But, if you’re of the legal age, head to Times Square Arts Center because, as they say, “imitation is the best form of flattery.” Part of me likes to believe parody also applies.

Click here for tickets.

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