E.L. James created a trilogy of books that turned the literary world on its head. The ’50 Shades of Grey’ series, which are highly erotic in nature, has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide and reserving a copy at the local library means staying on a long list for a long time.
With the success of anything comes the inevitable parody of it. Bring on ‘Spank! The 50 Shades Parody.’ The show, set to arrive Feb. 1 at the Weinberg Center in Frederick stars Danielle Trzcinski as Tasha Woode (a riff on Anastasia Steele for those who read the books) and Gabe Bowling as Hugh Hanson (or the Christian Grey character in this instance).
“It’s a parody, which is so important because it is so funny,” Trzcinski said. “I would say the show is Saturday Night Live meets Chippendales. It is definitely a really fun night out on the town. You will have so much fun. You will be laughing your head off.”
When the books started flying off the shelves, Trzcinski said the producer of the show called up the director to get a script ready.
“He got a group of comedy writers together — the best comedy writers in Canada — sat them down. They wrote it, and it was put up eight weeks later,” Trzcinski said. “The response was crazy. The show sold out, and there were hundreds of women. Everybody was loving it, laughing, standing ovations and the producer said, ‘I think we’ve got something!’”
Trzcinski, who laughs off stage just as easily as she does on it, takes great delight in portraying the Ana character.
“Because it is a parody, I really heighten things about her,” Trzcinski said. “So she is very innocent, very virginal. I make her very naive. She is a lot like the character in the book. She is clumsy, a lip biter, but we definitely poke fun at things that, you know … she has a degree in literature, but she didn’t have a computer in college. People seem to love that I have brown hair because they constantly talk in the book about her being a brunette.”
It’s no secret the books have a strong female fan base. Trzcinski said she believes the books provide an escape for women everywhere — and who doesn’t love a mysterious, good-looking bad boy with lots of money?
“It’s so exciting, the book is,” Trzcinski said. “And Christian Grey’s character is just so dark and mysterious, and he’s handsome and a millionaire. So it’s a fantasy. I know that the book is viewed as ‘mommy porn.’ I got the books from a woman when I used to babysit her kids. I think that that’s just what it is — this man is just so dreamy and what he does, the sex life makes it so exciting.
“That’s kind of how I feel about our show, is that it is an escape, first of all. It’s a night out on the town — leave the men and children at home, and come have fun with your girlfriends because our man is exactly that — very handsome, very sexy. They go nuts for him. The minute he walks on stage, the women are screaming!”
Although the books are graphic in detail, Trzcinski said audiences shouldn’t be worried about that. The writers took great pains to make sure the more blush-worthy scenes were scaled down.
“It is a bit steamy at times, but it is a parody,” Trzcinski said. “If this was a movie, it would be an ‘R’ movie. There’s no nudity, but there is a strip scene like ‘Magic Mike’ or a burlesque scene with our handsome man who strips down to his underwear, but that’s mostly for the women who start screaming like it’s Chippendales’ night. There’s not that much swearing — there’s no ‘F’ words.
“ I mean, the content itself is incredibly risqué, but we never go too far into that. We never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”