Taking over the Kirk Douglas Theater is the raucous “50 Shades! The Musical – The Original Parody.” Spoofing the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy of books by E. L. James this musical has been met with sold out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Chicago and New York. After seeing the play, I had a chance to chat with Eileen Patterson who is playing the lead Anastasia Steele.
KM: Have you read the books?
EP: All three of them twice. I was working on a cruise ship when it was first really popular and I got sucked in. The other girls and I were passing them around. Then when I found out about this project I reread them for research.
KM: What did you think of books?
EP: Ridiculous, but entertaining in a silly way. The sex scenes were steamy, but repetitive. I actually started skipping over the sex scenes, because there were so many and I wanted to get on with the story. They are all very repetitive, but I stuck with them and got sucked in. I laughed at them probably when I wasn’t supposed to laugh.
KM: Why do you think these books have spawned so many spoofs/parodies?
EP: The writing itself is not great. Like I said, for me when I was rereading them, it is so repetitive. I can’t believe this woman got away with writing the same thing over and over. It’s silly. I think that they are very soap opera dramatic, which makes it very easy to spoof.
KM: Do you think people have to be familiar with the books to enjoy the musical?
EP: I don’t think it’s geared toward people who have read the book. The humor is geared toward everybody and it goes beyond the books. People who know nothing about the books can still laugh and have a great time. The show, in my humble opinion, is well written, so that’s on our side for sure.
**As someone who has not read the books and saw the play, you will definitely enjoy it more if you are at least familiar with the story. So if you haven’t read them, do a quick Google search for the synopses!**
KM: What is your favorite part about working on this show?
EP: I come from a musical theater background, so the fact that I get to sing so much is great. That’s the selfish part of it.
**Not selfish at all! Eileen has a gorgeous voice, so the fact that she sings so much is fantastic.**
KM: Have you ever done a show like this before?
EP: I have never done anything that is first and foremost a comedy before. It’s great that I get to learn from the wonderful comedians around me. It’s a thrill to go out every night and not know which jokes are going to land for the audience and which aren’t. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me thinking. It’s different every night.
KM: What has surprised you the most about this show?
EP: Going into it, I knew it was a funny show, which is why I was so interested in the project. I’m proud of how consistently successful the show is for audiences. How few times that we’ve had an audience that doesn’t respond. I knew it was funny, but I didn’t know it was that funny. When we play the bigger houses, it’s like a rock concert. With a traditional musical you get cheers and you get applause, but nothing like this. That has been the most surprising thing, also because it’s been so consistent.
“50 Shades! The Musical – The Original Parody” runs through March 30th before the tour continues on to Toronto for a month. As this is their first extended stay in one city, Patterson says that she and her cast mates are very excited to get to explore Culver City and the LA area.
*Coverage provided for the Culver City News