The seventh annual Charm City Fringe Festival, voted in 2017 by Baltimore magazine as the “Best Eclectic Festival,” is set for November 1st to 11th. Throughout the 11 days of cutting-edge, quirky theatre and arts performances, Ike Avelli’s 50 Shades of Gay stands out as one of the can’t-miss shows. Running from Friday, November 2nd at 10 pm; Saturday, November 3rd at 9 pm; and Sunday, November 4th at 7:30 pm, 50 Shades of Gay is an adult variety show written, produced, and starring award-winning comedian Ike Avelli. The performances will take place at Le Mondo (406 North Howard Street, Baltimore). Filled with comedy, music, drag, costumes, and audience participation, the show has been selling out venues across the US since 2015.

“It all started back in 2015,” Avelli began. “I wanted to do an adult variety show for NYC Gay Pride, which was held at the end of June. In February 2015, I saw the trailer for the movie 50 Shades of Grey. It came to me that I was going to base the name of this show after that.” Before Avelli’s show premiered, a landmark case that changed the landscape of the LGBT-community was announced. “Friday, June 26th, the day before the show premiered, the Supreme Court passed marriage equality. On the night of the show, the theatre in New York City was sold out and everyone was ready to celebrate.”

Filled with comedy, music, drag, video sketches, and audience participation, the performance boasts fun for all who attend. “I think that especially for the fringe festivals this show is great. You don’t just sit there and watch. Audience members get to come on stage, put on some wigs, lip-synch for their lives, and really have some fun.”

For New York-based Avelli, who has written, produced and starred in eight original shows since 2013, entertaining is in his DNA. “I started doing variety shows five years ago. 50 Shades of Gay was different. Viewers get to not only come out and have fun, but they have the opportunity to be on stage and to be a star for the night.”

For more information and tickets for 50 Shades of Gay and other2018 Charm City Fringe Festival offerings, visit

Author Profile

Frankie Kujawa
Frankie Kujawa
Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.