BWW Interviews: Eileen Patterson Talks About the Titillating Appeal of 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL
It's the perfect excuse for an Austin girl's night out. 50 Shades! The Musical-The Official Parody, a hilarious take on the global Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, will premiere at Austin's Long Center June 3 and 4. Think: 90 minute SNL skit!
Sold out audiences in Chicago and New York were screaming for more. The show's hit run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival earned a 4-star review. And now, Austin audiences get the chance to enjoy!
50 Shades! The Musical is a sexy, hilarious romp... a laugh out loud night of fun that audiences won't want to miss!
BroadwayWorld-Austin recently had the chance to chat with Eileen Patterson, who stars as Ana in the show. Here's what Patterson had to say about the cult appeal of the 50 Shades of Grey book series and the humor of this bawdy show....
BWW: For those who don't know (or pretend not to know) anything about 50 Shades of Grey, what is the original book series about?
EP: 50 Shades of Grey is an erotic lit trilogy about a young woman, Anastasia Steele, who falls for the dark mysterious Christian Grey, who convinces her to participate in his BDSM lifestyle. There are many graphic sex scenes and melodramatic conversations.
BWW: Why do you think the books have become a pop-culture phenomenon?
EP: I think the books have given women, especially middle aged women, an arena to talk about sex much more openly. I also think the classic conceit of the young woman falling for the mysterious, elusive, troubled handsome man (a la Twilight) easily attracted a wide female audience.
BWW: What is it like to parody and lampoon the books?
EP: The book supplies more than enough ammo for us to do so. There's far too much graphic sex and repeated dramatic conservations. What I like most about our show is that people never know what to expect coming into a 50 Shades parody and I think we deliver on a comedic level, but also on a musical one. It's nice to surprise people that way.
BWW: I remember the first time I listened to the cast album of your show, I was in the car, and I was laughing so hard I almost had to pull over to wipe tears out of my eyes. Is it tough to maintain your composure and not laugh while you're on stage in the show?
EP: Because I've been doing the show for many months, I've learned to stay in character 99% of the time. It's always when you catch that unexpected glance with a fellow cast member that it's a little tough sometimes. Repetition has definitely helped me learn how to stay in character. That's one of the many ways this show has been an education for me.
BWW: Tell us about your character. Is there any part of your character that is similar to you in any way?
EP: I play Anastasia Steele, a classic ingénue, but in this show it is ten times more fun than playing a Liesl or a Luisa. I think this is obviously because of the subject matter, but also that it's kind of a parody of an ingénue. I have to walk a fine line between being a real girl going through a real dilemma and honoring that the show is an over the top comedy. Similar to Ana? I think I identify with Ana's positivity and how wholeheartedly she embraces whatever comes her way.
BWW: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
EP: My favorite moments are when we have to hold for laughs. There will literally be stretches where we just need to continue playing the moment because the audience is losing it. It's a blast.
BWW: Due to the content of your show, I'm guessing that having your mom or dad or grandparents see the show could be awkward. How have your family and friends responded to the show?
EP: My parents have seen the show several times. My grandmother also saw it and when I found out she was coming I was mortified. After the show when I told her how worried I was she just responded with "I'm a big girl. I can handle it." Amazing, and also very true. It is slightly awkward for my father I think, but he and my mom have a wonderful sense of humor, so they think it's hilarious at the end of the day. I think they're proud of seeing me on stage doing what I love and that trumps everything else.
BWW: Given the nature of your show, we decided to ask BroadwayWorld readers what questions they'd want to ask of you. Kyle P wants to know "How do you feel about nudity?"
EP: Personally, I don't think I'd do nudity. There's none in our show, so I haven't had to deal with that yet.
BWW: Robby V asks, "Were rehearsals fun or uncomfortable?"
EP: Fun, after breaking the ice with Christian, who I play opposite the whole show. We had to just dive in. That's what's always exciting about rehearsal though.
BWW: David C has two questions: "How have audiences responded to the show, and do you have any comments on the male eye candy in the show and the double standard of objectification?"
EP: The audience reaction is normally huge. We get some rowdy crowds which are a blast to entertain. I think they normally show up primed to see something over the top and we are happy to deliver. We have both male and female eye candy in our show, so there is an equal distribution of objectification. I think the stronger message our show delivers is to have a sense of humor about sex, so we can ultimately enjoy it more.
BWW: Daniel W has a very serious question: "If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring 10 sex toys, what would they be?"
EP: Hm. 10 sex toys is an awful lot, but my first pick would probably be a blindfold, which is fun because it keeps you guessing and also because it could double as a sleep mask so I could sleep in on sunny mornings.
BWW: Any last thoughts or comments for our readers?
EP: 50 Shades! The Musical is a hilarious show with awesome music and vocals. See us on tour or in NYC! Come prepared to laugh so hard your face hurts! :)
BWW: And finally, what's your safe word?
EP: If I ever needed one, I'd have to go with something random and something that would make me laugh....pumpernickel? Pineapple? Those are funny words.
Tickets are available at TheLongCenter.org or by calling (512) 474.LONG (5664). Also available at the Long Center's 3M Box Office located at 701 West Riverside Drive at South First Street. For groups of 10 and more, please call 512-457-5161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on future tour dates, please visit www.50shadesthemusical.com