“SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody” returns to Detroit

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

After seven sold-out shows in February, “SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody” will  be performed for eight more shows May 1-5 at The City Theatre in Detroit.

Written and directed by Jim Milan, and produced by Mills Entertainment, the

Photo Courtesy of SPANK!
Photo Courtesy of SPANK!

play is not affiliated with the E.L. James’ “50 Shades of Grey” novel series it parodies.

Those wildly successful erotica books detail the S/M relationship between an innocent, beautiful young woman and a wealthy, enigmatic and controlling international entrepreneur.

FYI: Performances of “SPANK!” will be 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2; 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 3; 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 4; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday May 5 at The City Theatre, 2301 Woodward Ave., in Detroit. Tickets are $45.50 and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, Ticketmaster locations and ticketmaster.com.

Actress Amanda Barker, a Massachusetts native residing in Toronto, narrates the play as E.B.J., a takeoff on “Fifty Shades of Grey” writer E.L. James. Barker was Major League Baseball’s first and only female mascot for the Toronto Blue Jays. She also does stand-up and writes sketch comedy, in addition to acting in commercials, directing productions and taking roles in television, stage shows and film.

Danielle Trzcinski of New York City plays Tasha Woode, the parody of “Grey” heroine Anastasia Steele. Trzcinski was part of FringeNYC’s “Non-Equity the Musical!” which she wrote, and she made the top 25 in NBC’s “Last Comic Standing NY,” in addition to participating in other shows and tours.

Gabe Bowling of Los Angeles plays Hugh Hanson, the character modeled on Christian Grey, the novel’s young entrepreneur. Bowling performed in the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet,” and appears an upcoming romantic comedy “One Small Hitch,” as well as performing as a musician in his solo project “Gabe vs. The Sad Kids.”  

The satire pokes fun at scenes mostly from the first book, though at times touching on others from the trilogy, Barker says. The jokes rise from the story set-up and suggestions of the novel, as well as audience involvement.

“We get to play so much in the show,” Barker says. “What’s really fun is that as the narrator, I can sort of incorporate audience suggestions, play with the crowd and also with the actors on stage.”

While those who know the novels enjoyed the play, Barker said people who haven’t read the books still find it hilarious.

“I think there’s something in the play for everybody,” Barker said. “It’s just a really fun night out. The laughs just keep coming.”

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