"50 Shades!" -- the "Book of Mormon" for Softcore Porn

Clifford Roles
Cast of 50 Shades! The Musical

"It's like a twisted sort of West Side Story," says Albert Samuels about the plotline of 50 Shades! The Musical, which he directed and helped to produce and write, based on the porn-tinged best seller 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. "Girl meets boy, but girl is a 21-year-old virgin who works at a hardware store, and boy is a reclusive Adonis-like billionaire who's really into bondage. Other than that, there's something for the whole family."

Samuels says Marshall Cordell, a producer on this show and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where Samuels' musical parody group, Baby Wants Candy, performs every year, called Samuels saying he'd heard that the book's sales had sparked a run on rope at hardware stores as people began exploring their bondage-loving side. The producer asked Samuels to do a musical version of the book. Who could turn that down?

The show played at the Fringe Festival last summer, then went on to Chicago and New York and, now, San Francisco.

Michael Brosilow

"I've seen the show probably 100 times already, and I laugh just as much now as I did in the beginning," Samuels says. "We put so much work into the show and making sure it had heart, and that this would be a show that people would want to see it without reading the book."

Everyone can find something to love in a parody, Samuels says.

"One of the nicest compliments we get is that a husband or boyfriend got dragged along and they say they love it," he says. "If you think you don't like the book, then you love this because we're parodying it, and if you love the book, then there's plenty of inside stuff. It's like with Book of Mormon -- Mormons love the show and people who think Mormons are kind of suspect love the show."

Michael Brosilow

50 Shades! The Musical plays Tuesday, July 23 through Sunday, July 28 at the Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St. Tickets are $30-$65 and can be purchased at shnsf.com or by calling (888)746-1799.

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