BWW Interviews: Chris Sams Talks 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL
While Christmas is all around us and holiday shows are abound, TUTS Underground is gifting Houston audiences with something a little different than your typical holiday fare. TUTS Underground is gearing up for their second production of their inaugural season, 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL. Parodying the popular book by E.L. James, the musical provides a hilarious interpretation of the novel through the eyes of a ladies' book club. Playing Taylor, Houston native Chris Sams took some time out of his schedule to let us know what Houston audiences have in store with 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL.
BWW: When did you know that you wanted to be an actor?
Chris Sams: In that regard, I was a really late bloomer. Both of my degrees are in Speech Communication, so I never really had that input in theatre arts until late in my undergraduate career. And that's when I pretty much decided, around age twenty-three. I know that most people start much earlier, they have that dream at a much younger age, but for me it was a lot later. I did dabble in theatre. I did a couple of plays in college, but most of my training came from an activity called Forensics. Most people are more familiar with the name Speech and Debate, and I did several dramatic interpretations and poetry interpretations. So, I got a really solid foundation there as far as technique, unbeknownst to myself, that I could cross-apply to the theatre world once I got there. That's pretty much where I got the basis of my training, but I didn't know that I wanted to really make the transition until later.
BWW: You're a Houston native! How does it feel to be performing 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL in your hometown?
Chris Sams: It feels great. Actually, this will be the first time that I will be coming back to Houston to perform. I know that we performed in Galveston with both ROCK OF AGES and THE COLOR PURPLE, and also SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE. We've been to that opera house several times, but never to Houston. So, it is going to be a homecoming of sorts. I really can't wait, especially coming to the new explorative space at TUTS. That's also going to be really awesome, to bring a type of theatre that isn't your standard fare, and maybe increase the viewership of the arts. That's going to be really exciting. I'm really looking forward to that.
BWW: Well I'll tell you, Houston is really excited to see 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL. It has been so popular that they have even added an additional afternoon performance!
Chris Sams: That's amazing. We got the email a couple of days ago about the added shows and we are really pumped as well. It's more than a viewing experience! It's a good time to be had by all. It's an interactive experience. We encourage you to laugh out loud and to have the most raucous time you've had in a very, very, long time.
BWW: Regarding 50 SHADES!, what has been your favorite part about being in this musical?
Chris Sams: My favorite part is just being part of a production that isn't your standard fare. When you're in musicals like ROCK OF AGES, like THE COLOR PURPLE, like SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, not to take anything away from those productions because I had an awesome time and awesome experiences, you get boxed in and cornered into what you think that theatre should be. You kind of use that as your criteria in judging other pieces, and what this piece has taught me is that theatre can reach anyone. It can be about anything, and that merit and that artistic integrity is still there. You still have the same base components. You still have that same structure that is adhered to. That is the biggest thing that I have learned about this production, and that is what I am most excited about when I perform. Although it is a different medium of a type of show, it's still a show, and it still has it merits and value is still found in this production, even though the roof is going to be blown off with laughter.
BWW: So I have to ask, have you read any of the books that 50 SHADES! parodies?
Chris Sams: I have read the first book. I didn't go into the other two. I just read the one. (Laughs)