“Fifty Shades of Grey” written by E.L. James first shocked readers in 2011 with the intimate portrayal of a nontraditional, erotic relationship between characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Now imagine them wearing jet packs.
On Thursday, the musical “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” opens at Hoyt Sherman Place.
“Spank!” begins with character E.B. Janet, a middle-aged author, inspired to write an erotic novel. The production is the depiction of her characters and story, come to life. Interactions between her literary creation Hugh Hanson, played by Patrick Whalen, and Tasha Woode, played by Alice Moran, parallel those between Grey and Steele in the book.
For Jim Millan, the production’s director and head writer, it seemed in each chapter of the book, Grey showed off a new skill: musicianship, aviation, financial savvy.
“It’s like every desirable quality that any man could ever have, and lo-and-behold, he has all of them. So it seems like, chapter to chapter, he gets a new super skill,” Millan said. “Our guy is wildly accomplished too, but we give him a more eccentric set of super skills.”
The production’s structure allowed the creative team of three actors and four writers, including Millan, to incorporate elements of pop culture, including references to “Twilight,” Batman and “Home Improvement,” and feature scenes that Janet considered including in her novel.
Much of the show amplifies the humor many already find in James’ work. Certain scenes incorporate more fantastic props than those found in the book like jet packs and hovercraft.
“There are several things about the book that are crazy and adventurous and romantic,” Millan said. “We would do our own slightly skewed version of it, and we’ve made a lot of other people laugh now.”
For Millan, the show came together quickly. The creative team started writing after Labor Day and the show was onstage by October.
Already it’s no stranger to success. In March, a production will open in Australia, and a permanent company will open on the strip in Las Vegas. The show is also being translated into Russian and Spanish.
“This show is pro-fantasy and a celebration of the crazy relationships between the sexes, so if it makes you go home and have more fun with your partner, then fantastic,” Millan said.
‘Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody’
Where: Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday