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THEATER | "50 Shades! The Musical" 

Our culture is inundated with what is known as "potato-chip entertainment." We know that certain books, programs, and films offer little intellectual sustenance, if they don't rot our minds outright. But it's difficult to put it down, especially when everyone we know is indulging. A little while ago, it seemed like everyone was reading the racy trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey," by E. L. James, which tells the story of a young literature student who is introduced to the world of BDSM by a more seasoned, successful entrepreneur. The elements of naivete, seduction, and obsession with power gathered a tidy crossover audience of "Twilight" fans, and rumor has it that James' novel actually got its start as a piece of "Twilight" fanfiction (Google it!).

We love to indulge in such nonsense (to the tune of 32 million copies sold in America), and even lecture one another about why such phenomena are supposedly important looks at our culture, but we also love to hate on it, hard. A parody couldn't have been far behind, and we find that in "50 Shades! The Musical," which will come to the Auditorium Theatre (885 E. Main St.) on Thursday, May 16. The show opens with a ladies book club deciding to read "Fifty Shades of Grey," and follows their interpretation of the novel through dance numbers and original songs such as "I Don't Make Love" and "There's a Hole Inside of Me."

Because Thursday's 7:30 p.m. show sold out, a 5 p.m. show has been added. Tickets cost $39.50-$47.50, and the musical is recommended for ages 18 and over. For more information, call 222-5000 or visit rbtl.org.

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