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'50 Shades' parody comes to Munhall stage

| Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 7:20 a.m.
Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall plays host to the national touring company of '50 Shades! The Musical,' a parody of the E.L. James novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' Sunday night at 7:30.

The worldwide “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon makes a stop in the Steel Valley over the weekend.

Sunday night at 7:30, Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall plays host to “50 Shades! The Musical,” a song-laden parody of the E.L. James novel that has been devoured by millions of women (and presumably a few men) around the world. Though the sexually-charged erotic romance novel offers frank and graphic depictions of sexual fetishism — mainly bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism — the producers insist the traveling production is suitable for audience members of all ages.

More than 35 million copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and sequels “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” have been sold in the United States, with global book sales topping a whopping 70 million. A former British television executive, James was writing fan fiction for angsty vampire saga “Twilight” when the project developed into “Fifty Shades of Grey.” During a 2012 “Today” show interview, James, now 50, said the books are “my midlife crisis, writ large... All my fantasies are in there, and that's it.”

The book tells the story of virginal college graduate Anastasia Steele, who unleashes her inner desires via an especially steamy relationship with sexy billionaire Christian Grey. The graphic description of their sexual antics inspired great word of mouth — and generated plenty of controversy via criticism from conservative groups — for the book as sales soared. While the kinky relationship between Ana and Christian is lampooned in the musical, “50 Shades!” pokes as much fun at the women who read the novel(s) as the source material itself.

Written and conceived by Second City/Baby Wants Candy improv alums Al Samuels, Emily Dorezas, Amanda Blake Davis, Jody Shelton, Ashley Ward and Dan Wessels, the parody won rave reviews in sold-out engagements in New York, Chicago and Raleigh, N.C. That prompted producers to launch a 60-city North American tour in May that wraps up Dec. 22 in Houston. The touring company features a roster of up-and-coming comedians, including Chris Grace, Amber Petty, Jessica Kemock, Emily Eden, Spencer Rose, Nick Semar, Matt Nolan, Victor Sho and Caroline Reade.

Tickets for “50 Shades! The Musical,” presented by Drusky Entertainment and Kirschner Concerts, range from $37 to $65 (add $3 per ticket if purchased the day of the show) and are available at or by calling 412-368-5225.

Jeffrey Sisk is an editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-664-9161 ext. 1952, or

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