I’ll just go ahead and sum it up in one word for you: Perfection. I’m talking about the guy who played Christian Grey’s character, of course. Whewwwww …
Last night, I had the opportunity to see “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” on opening night at the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts here in Jacksonville. As a member of the Artist Series’ Professional Women Theater Ambassador Program, this was the fifth and final show for the season that I got to enjoy on opening night. (Other shows included Mary Poppins, Billy Elliot, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up, and Rock of Ages.)
Out of all of these phenomenal Broadway shows, however, I have been looking forward to Spank! the most. Like most women around my age, I have read the Fifty Shades series. And, while the writing isn’t completely up to par and she [E.L. James, the author] loves to use the same words and phrases over, and over, and over, and over …. I couldn’t help but to get sucked in and caught up in fantasy land. So I was pumped to see how the play made fun of the book, how closely it stuck to the story line, and if they picked up on the same goofy things that I did while reading. And they did.
About the show:
SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody is the hilarious new musical that brings all the naughty fun of the best-selling book to life. Your inner goddess will be laughing out loud with this clever re-imagining of the characters as they come alive with hysterical comedy, musical numbers, sexy and fun performances from the hunky leading man, plus lots of surprises!
Because the show isn’t actually affiliated with the book or its author, Christian Grey became Hugh Hanson, and Anastasia Steele became Natasha Woode (get it? Steele .. Woode .. ha.) And that’s it – those were the only characters! Well, and the fabulous author, E.B. Janet, who writes the novel out loud as her narration while guzzling a bottle of wine. The show had no sets or backdrops, and used very little props. It almost felt like a super-hilarious and well-put together improv comedy show. The songs were hilarious, the acting was fabulous, and the crowd interaction couldn’t have been more entertaining.
The narrator/author was BRILLIANT! She reminded me a lot of Molly Shannon, and provided laugh after laugh throughout the entire show. Natasha’s character was spot-on. She played the role perfectly and depicted Anastasia Steele to a T … and had the best facial expressions ever. And Hugh’s character was … well, that’s not important. Let’s just focus on the guy that played him, Drew Moerlein. It should be illegal for someone to be that perfect! A gorgeous man with an incredible body who can act, dance, sing and play the guitar? C’mon, now! Yes, he took his shirt off. Yes, it was glorious. (Which got me thinking … when are they going to come out with Magic Mike on Broadway?!)
The entire show felt like a two-hour SNL sketch. It was witty, raunchy and pure perfection! They even found a way to incorporate a song from Willy Wonka and a scene from Love Actually (you’d have to see it for this to make sense). Whether you loved the books or hated them, I definitely recommend seeing the play if you have a chance. I imagine it would be fun for those who haven’t read any of the books, though I don’t know if you would understand a lot of the humor and references.
I would tell you more … but you’d have to sign a “Non Disclosure Agreement” for that.
If you’re in Jacksonville, the show runs through Saturday, April 13. Tickets for SPANK! are $49.50 and are available at the Artist Series Box Office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, at (904) 442-BWAY (2929) and online 24/7 at www.artistseriesjax.org. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at (904) 442-2947 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacksonville Show Schedule:
Tuesday, April 9th at 7:30PM
Wednesday, April 10th at 7:30PM
Thursday, April 11th at 7:30PM
Friday, April 12th at 8:00PM
Saturday, April 13th at 4:30PM and 8:00PM
Grab your girlfriends and don’t miss the funniest and most exciting girls’ night out of the year! Get there early to enjoy a special themed cocktail (and yes, you can take them in the theater with you!): Red Room Rum Punch ($10), Black & Blue Martini ($7), Spanked Red ($7), and Sex on the Beach ($7).
Oh yeah … if you stick around after the show you can have a picture with the Prince of Darkness yourself. You better believe we did!