Thursday, July 11, 2013
SNL meets Chippendales in Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody
The show plays all weekend at Majestic Theatre.
DALLAS Since its release in 2011 and its two volumes that followed, the 50 Shades of Grey series has topped best-seller lists around the world, selling more than 70 million copies worldwide in 37 countries.
So when comedy writer Jim Millan discovered this accomplishment, he immediately thought of a way to shed a little comic light to the subject.
Inspired by the success of a British Harry Potter parody play, Millan first picked up the grey tie-covered book while on a family vacation. As he flipped from the first page to the last, he said thought, "OK, that's a show."
The Majestic Theatre welcomed Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody to Dallas Wednesday for the first time and is sure to attract a high capacity, adult-only audience, said Michael Schwedler, general manager of the Majestic.
"We have already begun ramping up our staff and making other preparations based on the strong tickets sales. There is definitely a buzz around town about the show," he said in an email.
Milan and a team of sketch comedy actors pulled the show together from August to October, creating a parody focusing on the more laughable aspects of the best-seller rather than the more scandalous portions of the book that led to its fame, Millan said.
"It was fast and furious," he said. "We try to focus on the elements that are outrageous and overblown."
Spank! will combine the key characteristics of a play, including an improv comedy night complete with audience involvement and a musical. Millan compared the show to an experience similar to what would happen if Saturday Night Live met Chippendales.
The show consists of only three characters, comprising a wine-wielding homemaker and the two characters she creates for a novel. As the show ventures from start to end, the middle-age homemaker is pulled into her own fantasy, dragging the audience along for the ride, Millan said.
"It's almost like she's throwing a party," he said. "And you're invited."
While 50 Shades of Grey rose in fame due to its coarse subject matter, Schwedler said the subtle undertone the material gives is what makes the show a unique experience. Millan added he did not think anyone took it "super seriously;" in fact, he said the audience is what gave the show its popularity.
"The ingredient that made it all work was an audience that loved it from the first night," he said.
Millan compared opening night to a Justin Bieber concert, as women typically dominate the crowd, dragging along a few reluctant men. Audiences of either sex could come to the Majestic ready to be entertained though, regardless of whether they read the popular novel or not, Millan said.
"There's a bonding point for the female part of the community," he said. "Because it's comedy, [however], we try to make it as witty as possible. It's not necessary to have read the book to come and laugh."
For show times and information, visit spankshow.com.
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