‘50 Shades! The Musical’ Is As Spicy As Its Counterpart

BUFFALO – Those who enjoy their theater with more than a little pinch of spice will find what they want at the theater at 710 Main St., with their current production of ”50 Shades! the Musical.”

Obviously, the show is based on current best selling novel ”50 Shades of Grey,” a book which has sold more copies in both the U.S. and England than any other modern book, including all the Harry Potter novels, put together.

The musical version, which lists five composers and six book authors, is a parody, with occasional hints of ”The Phantom of the Opera,” and ”Les Miserables,” among other shows, stirred in for the heck of it.

The concept of the musical is that three contemporary women are in the habit of meeting together, one night per week, to have a glass of wine and to do something fun, to break the stress of their regular lives. One evening, they decide to begin reading and discussing the novel ”50 Shades of Grey.” As they read and talk about it, events from the book are acted out behind them.

The book is a story of Anastasia Steele, an innocent young woman who is sent to do an interview with billionaire Christian Grey. In the novel, he is perfectly handsome, stylish, and has every quality a women could want. But, Christian has a number of eccentricities, including a devotion to sadomasochistic sexual practices. Anastasia finds herself tantalized, and finally, drawn in.

The musical version is roughly the same, except that actor Chris Grace, who plays Christian, may have the body of a god, but he more closely resembles the Buddha than he does Apollo. Much of the show’s humor was centered on laughing at how he thought himself beautiful, but was not so.

Wednesday evening, Anastasia, normally performed by Amber Nicole Petty, was portrayed by Caroline Reade. She was very pretty, and had a strong singing voice, if not a beautiful one.

The three book club women, who also played other minor roles were nicely performed by Jessica Kemock, Emily Eden, and Spencer Rose. Eden especially was willing to bend every effort to add to the evening’s humor.

Victor Sho and Matthew Nolan played all the minor male roles, plus spent much time shirtless, as dancers. Nick Semar was very funny as Jose, who thought Anastasia should be his lady, and not Christian’s.

The whole show was accompanied by a very talented trio of Daniel David Reitz on piano, Christopher Edward Ditton on bass and Douglas Goler Levin on drums,

The language of the show is very strong, and the subject matter is colorful, to say the least. There is no nudity, although Grace spends quite a bit of time in a very small wrestling singlet.

If you’ve read the book and liked it, you’d probably enjoy the show. The audience was probably 80 percent female, and they often screamed with laughter and seemed really to be involved in the action. It’s not for children, nor for those who might be offended.

The show is professionally staged and performed, and all the performers are talented.

”50 Shades! the Musical” will continue at 710 Main St., through Sunday.