Fifty Shades Parody 'Spank' Opening at McGlohon

Leading actor Gabe Bowling as Christian Grey.

When E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy hit bookstores in 2011 it set housewives and the spinster set aflutter. The tawdry tale of a 22-year-old college student being swept off of her feet by a 27-year-old billionaire became the go-to fantasy for many ladies.

But comedian and director Jim Millan (Kids in the Hall and Marijuanalogues with Tommy Chong) had a much different reaction when he heard of the plot.

“This is just absolutely absurd,” he said. “There is just so much there that is ripe for parody.”

So he and several of his funny friends sat down last summer and began writing what became Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, the comedic musical that has been gaining fans across the globe.

The unauthorized parody will begin a four-night run at the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square beginning tonight through Saturday, Feb. 9.

Like the book it mocks, the musical has been a smash success. Producers are in talks to create a permanent showing on the Las Vegas Strip and in Australia and the show has already been performed in theaters across the country, Millan said.

“I think audiences have really fell in love with how we present the material,” Millan said. “We allowed ourselves some freedom in how we approached everything so that we weren’t strictly tied to the books.”

The books follow the sexual courtship of Ana, a young, somewhat naive woman, by entrepreneur Christian Grey. The two meet after Ana is asked to interview the business magnate for her college’s newspaper. This kick starts a whirlwind affair, during which, the couple explores their fantasies with one another without inhibition.

Writers of Spank! wanted the musical to have the same feel as the book. So many of the dates Grey arranges are more like James Bond style adventures rather than the typical dinner and a movie. The musical’s production values also tend to be more over the top as a bit of meta commentary on the book’s flamboyant writing style.

Die hard fans of Fifty Shades of Grey have helped propel some of musical's success but not all of the audiences have been as familiar with the source material. Millan said many of the people he’s spoken with hadn’t read the books but could still follow the jokes and storyline.

The story follows a traditional romantic comedy arc which helps compensates for those who hadn’t read the books, Millan said.

“I think what's really resonated with audiences is that we just wanted to have fun," he said. "We wanted people to have a good time out with their significant others and I think that really shines through."

The reception for Spank! has already been so hot in Charlotte producers have had to add an additional matinee show on Saturday at 3 p.m. Ticket information and show times can be found here.

The show is for mature audiences.

Categories: Arts + Culture, Revue