The national tour of the 2014 off-Broadway hit “50 Shades! The Musical Parody” makes a perfectly timed stop at the Victoria Theatre on Tuesday.
It will arrive courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association mere days after the release of the highly anticipated film version of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Directed by Albert Samuels, “50 Shades!” sells itself as a naughty, playful, sexy and tuneful sendup of British writer E.L. James’ 2011 erotic best-seller, which chronicles the steamy relationship between college student Anastasia Steele and rich, hunky businessman Christian Grey. This particular parody explores the core couple by way of a trio of girlfriends at a book club meeting. As the women become increasingly infatuated with the book, Anastasia and Christian’s affair springs to life before their eyes.
“50 Shades!” originally premiered in August 2012 at the Edinburgh Film Festival. It is produced by Samuels (who co-created and starred in the NBC comedy “Sports Action Team” and “The Venue”), Emily Dorezas (who serves as touring director) and Rob Kolson (an Emmy winning producer, writer and composer who formerly served as music director for Chicago’s Second City).
Samuels, who also serves as head writer, notably assembled a creative team consisting of many members associated with Baby Wants Candy, a popular improvisational musical comedy troupe he co-founded. Baby Wants Candy has featured such talented comics as Nicole Parker (“MadTV”), Rachel Dratch and Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”), and Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”).
The sassy, pop-friendly score is written by Samuels, Amanda Blake Davis (a veteran of Chicago’s Second City), Jody Shelton (former music director of Second City’s second national touring company), Ashley Ward (who received a musical theatre degree from Webster University in St. Louis), and Dan Wessels (a Los Angeles-based songwriter and teacher). Songs include “Open Your Book,” “Could This Be the One,” “I Don’t Make Love” and “There is a Hole Inside of Me.”
The New York Times gave the off-Broadway production its Critics’ Pick last year, labeling the experience as “exuberant and very entertaining.” Variety proclaimed, “You don’t have to be familiar with the material to enjoy ‘50 Shades!,’ newcomers and fans alike should enjoy getting down and dirty.”
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