Apparently, these days just about any book can be the basis of a musical comedy. "The Book of Mormon" seemed an unlikely candidate for musicalization, but that certainly worked. And now we're being revisited by "50 Shades; The Musical," a parody of "Fifty Shades of Grey," the modern classic of she-porn.
It returns to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota on Monday. It passed through town back in April, and was apparently a huge hit. The Van Wezel people say they're bringing it back "by popular demand."
"50 Shades!: The Musical," started at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and earlier this year opened Off-Broadway. It features a potbellied, hyper-sweaty Mr. Grey. It has songs with such titles as "There's a Hole Inside of Me." Reviews have been generally positive, and talk about how much the boisterous female audiences like it.
The idea is that a ladies' book club opts to read the novel, and shares its reaction through music and dance, with help from an onstage band.
If you can't make the Dec. 2 show at Van Wezel, you can catch the same touring production Dec. 14 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. There. It's titled as "50 Shades!: The Musical -- The Original Parody." That's perhaps to differentiate it from "Spank!," another "Fifty Shades of Grey" parody that played at the Straz earlier this year.
Details: 8 p.m. Dec. 2, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $30-$47. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.
-- Marty Clear