January 24, 2013

Off Beat: Stage spoof of 'Fifty Shades' at State Theatre

'Spank!' – the stage spoof of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' – is at the State Theatre Tuesday.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Actress Danielle Trzcinski can't say for sure how long the performances of "Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody" will be on any given night.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Danielle Trzcinski and Drew Moerlein on stage in “Spank!” in Hartford, Conn. Trzcinski also acts in the upcoming Portland prodcution of “Spank!”

Courtesy photo

"SPANK! THE FIFTY SHADES PARODY"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $27.50 to $32.50

INFO: (800) 745-3000; statetheatreportland.com

Sometimes, the pauses for laughter can add an extra 10, 20, or more minutes to the evening, Trzcinski says.

That might sound at first to be an exaggeration.

But consider that the show includes a woman writing a sex novel while her characters come to life on stage with her, and the three go back and forth about what is sexy and what is not sexy, and important stuff like that.

Consider further that alcohol is served during the show, and that there's an audience interaction section where the actors come off the stage to ask viewers for sex advice.

"We've had to cut things out to make room for all the laughing. I'm not making this up," said Trzcinski, 26, a native of Tampa, Fla. "It's really like a big party. The way I describe it to people, it's like Chippendales meets 'Saturday Night Live.' "

Whatever it is, "Spank!" is like few other touring shows out there. And it will make a stop Tuesday night at the State Theatre in Portland.

The show is based on the wildly popular erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, the first installment in a series of books about the relationship between a young college graduate and a young magnate named Christian Grey.

The book created a storm in some circles for dealing explicitly with bondage, sadism and such things.

"Spank" takes the themes and runs with them -- though Trzcinski says people shouldn't be afraid of what they might say. There will be sex talk, yes, but funny sex talk.

"I would say it's rated R and kids shouldn't come, but people shouldn't worry about seeing naked people, because they won't," said Trzcinski. "But they will see us stripped down to our underwear."

Trzcinski says her favorite part of the show is when her character, a naive virgin involved in a sex fantasy with a handsome billionaire, walks into the audience looking for her old boyfriend.

"I'm a virgin and I ask people for sexual advice, so we get some funny answers," she said. "We save that part for after intermission, so people have a few more drinks in them."

Because of the demand for bookings, the show has several touring casts. It premiered in Canada, but producers quickly realized they needed an American production as well.

The show is a combination of a musical -- yes, there's singing and dancing -- plus comedy plus improv. Trzcinski, who trained at an improv school started by "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler, loves that the show combines all those qualities.

The virgin is a far cry from one of her other recent roles -- playing The Map in a touring production of "Dora the Explorer."

To prepare for the role in "Spank!", Trzcinski read "Fifty Shades of Grey"-- in two days -- and was instantly hooked.

"It's not the deepest thing you'll ever read, but it's fun and an easy read," she said. "I'm definitely one of the millions of women who got wrapped up in this."

And although the show is a big draw as a "girls-night-out" event, there will also be men in the audience, said Trzcinski.

"Women drag their husbands along too."

With their hands in cuffs, no doubt.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

Twitter:RayRouthier

 

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