‘Fifty Shades’ parody musical is laugh out loud funny

Telegraph correspondentMay 16, 2014 

You’ve probably read the book -- or know someone who has. It was hard to miss all the buzz surrounding “Fifty Shades of Grey.” If you thought it was ripe for a parody, you’re not alone.

“ ‘50 Shades! The Musical’ is hysterical,” said Cindy Hill, arts marketing coordinator for the Grand Opera House, about the play’s Middle Georgia premiere coming Sunday to the Grand. “I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant at first, but when I say that this play is funny, I mean it is cry-laugh funny!”

One of the co-authors of the play, Ashley Ward, is originally from Conyers. She said the play makes fun of the book, but not the folks who read it.

“This is a parody musical. It’s definitely poking fun at the book, from the casting to making fun of some of the things in the book,” Ward said. “There is a framing device to the show. Three ladies are in a book club and one of them introduces ‘Fifty Shades’ as the new book to read. We touch in with them as we go and see the story through their eyes. I want to make sure that people know that as funny and as silly as the play is, we are not making fun of the people who read it. The book was a huge phenomenon and we are just looking at some of the reasons why.”

“We wrote this sort of as a joke,” Ward said. “I’m in a theater group called Baby Wants Candy and we go to a comedy festival every year. Before we went to the festival a few years ago, one of the producers asked us to write a musical of the play. We assumed it would be a one-time showing, but we nearly sold out the 850 person venue.”

The play started touring around the county, opening off Broadway on March 12, 2013. In addition to being a co-author, Ward plays a character named Carol.

“She is one of the book club ladies, probably the most comedic of the three and the most out of touch. She is a little bit of a loveable loser,” Ward laughed. “The reception has been really great.”

“I think some people come to the show not realizing that it’s a parody, so when Christian gets revealed and he is not as is described in the book, the reactions vary from crazy laughter to angry rejection. The great thing is that people end up being won over, even if they weren’t sure what it was going in, because it is so fun and funny. Overall, people have been really enthusiastic.”

And unlike some of the scenes in the book, there is no nudity or sex in the show.

“Everything is done light-heartedly. You would see way worse on television. Some of the language is pretty colorful, but I think it’s done in a way that makes you laugh,” she said. “My mother saw it and she absolutely loved it. She really thought it was so funny and such a good time and really enjoyed it. I think that this is a really good time and a fun night out.”

“50 Shades! The Musical”

When: 7 p.m. May 18

Where: The Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry St.

Cost: $37-$47

Information: www.thegrandmacon.com

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