Walking up to the Long Center for the night’s performance, it would seem like a sea of women had descended on the Long Center. All were present for SPANK! the parody musical that has brought Fifty Shades of Grey to life for audiences across the country. From young adults to middle aged, the crowd was lively and fun and even a few men joined the throng. Before the show began, audience members could purchase themed snacks and cocktails, such as the Red Room of Pain, and then the entertainment commenced and hilarity ensued. Three fantastic actors and comedians, Drew Moerlein, Alice Moran and Suzanne Sole, engaged the audience and dazzled attendees with music, laughter, improv and over the top portrayals of the Fifty Shades cast.
The story follows the basic outline of the novel, with Suzanne Sole as the narrator and fictitious author E.B. Janet. As expected, she is a bored housewife who is desperate for attention, even if only in the fictional world. In addition to the narrator, Sole plays Natasha’s friend Kat (or Kate from the original) and Jose (Anatasia’s other best friend in Grey). Leading man Drew Moerlein gives us Hugh Hanson (who’s representative of Christian Grey) and every member of the Hanson family, while Alice Moran plays only Tasha Woode (Anastasia Steele). It is also a musical, filled with parodies of other songs, both popular and classic such as “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from the Sound of Music, changed to 22 going on 23.
What makes this parody work is the superb cast. All three actors carry their weight through the story and physical comedy elements. One audience member commented that she had seen the show twice before but this cast was by far the best. All the actors managed to improvise, and Moran especially. She ventured into the audience twice to ask inappropriate questions. They also slipped in references to this specific audience and Austin in general throughout the show.
Anyone who has read the novel knows that it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, so they wrapped up this version by adding in a few later story elements from the other books in the trilogy. It’s difficult to quite sum up this show but the best way to describe the Long Center’s SPANK! A Fifty Shades Parody is hilarious.