'50 Shades' parody ties titillating book to stage

Wednesday January 15, 2014 1:46 PM
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The cast of 50 Shades! The Musical (The Original Parody) will present this comic send-up in two performances Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 21-22, at the Southern Theatre. Tickets start at $39.50. Visit ticketmaster.com. Recommended for ages 18 and older.
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The songs in 50 Shades! The Musical have some of the raunchiest lyrics you'll ever hear in the theater.

What more incentive do you need?

In fairness, this is not all The Beat learned during a recent phone chat with the three women who play Bev, Carol and Pam, girlfriends who decide to read the sexually charged Fifty Shades of Grey for their book club, thus unleashing a series of sexy, hilarious scenes as they react to the story.

This musical parody pokes fun at the original book but also at the varied reactions to the overt sexuality that made it so popular, said Sheila O'Connor, who plays Carol.

Tiffany Dissette, whose character, Pam, is the driving force behind her club's 50 Shades adventure, described the three book-club ladies as a "kind of Greek chorus," a go-between for the audience and the characters in the book. Indeed, characters from the book and the three ladies often share the stage.

"You definitely see us reading the book, and what we're reading is what's going on on stage," Dissette said.

As the women react to the story, that's when it gets "really funny," she added. Their characters are archetypes, so the chances that women in the audience who have read the book, perhaps in a book club, will see some of themselves in one or more of the ladies are great.

"We'll have groups of women come to see us after the show and say, 'I'm so Carol,' " O'Connor said.

Alexis Field hadn't read the book before she was cast as Bev.

"I had a vague idea what it was about, but I was shocked and mortified at what they had me do at the audition. Now I do it every night," she said with a laugh, adding, we think in jest, "My parents think I'm on a tour of The Sound of Music."

While recommended for audiences age 18 and older, 50 Shades! The Musical is not recommended for women only.

"You wouldn't think, either because they haven't read the book or because they got dragged there by their wives or girlfriends, but men tend to enjoy the show as much or more than ladies," Dissette said.

"There are a lot of jokes in there specifically for men."

"They'll learn a thing or two," O'Connor added.

"We're starting a whole lot of interesting conversations on the way home -- and maybe even a lot more."

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