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Entertainment & Lifestyle

‘50 Shades’ musical parody not just for fans

6/13/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Emily Eden, at right, is among the performers in “50 Shades: The Musical,” coming to Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall June 18.
Photo: Clifford Roles
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Fans of the “Fifty Shades” book trilogy — and even those who may have no interest in the steamy novels — will find something to love in “50 Shades: The Musical,” according to cast member Emily Eden.

“Unless you’re a really miserable person that lives under a rock, you’re going to enjoy the show,” said Eden, who will be among the cast when it brings the musical parody to The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St., June 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Based on “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the 2011 novel by E.L. James that has sold 32 million copies in the U.S. alone, “50 Shades: The Musical” was created by veterans of improv groups The Second City and Baby Wants Candy. The show played to sold-out crowds in New York and Chicago and also made a splash at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before going on the road this year.

The musical opens with a ladies book club deciding to read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a novel about a young writer, Anastasia Steele, and her relationship with successful businessman Christian Grey. Through the book club members’ interpretation of the novel, the audience is led on a journey through the story that is full of dance numbers, 11 original songs and music provided by a live band.

Eden said the show has met with an enthusiastic reception wherever it goes.

“About 95 percent of the shows have been sold out,” she said. “If they haven’t been sold out, it’s because they’ve added a night. It’s been insane. The reaction is incredible.”

And the audience, to her surprise, is not made up of just women. After the show, the cast gets the chance to mingle with the audience in the lobby, and Eden said she’s met quite a few husbands.

“They are men who say they were dragged there by their wives, but they say they enjoyed it more than their wives did,” she said.

With the tour coming to a close soon after the Akron date, Eden said she’s not sure what’s up next for the show, but she does hope to continue in it.

“Down to the producers and management company, and the whole cast, I’ve never worked with nicer people,” said Eden, a native of England who has worked in the U.S. for three years. “We just had two weeks off, and I truly missed everyone.”

Tour officials said like the book series, the musical is not for those younger than the age of 18, but it does not cross boundaries that would make general audiences squirm.

Tickets, which start at $26.50, are available by calling 800-745-3000 or going to tick etmaster.com. Discounts for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 855-824-3405. For more information, go to www.50ShadesMusical.com.

“50 Shades: The Musical” is just one musical parody of the book series. “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” is also on tour and has an Oct. 2 date at the Akron Civic Theatre.

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