WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday WHERE: The Straz Center, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa TICKETS: $35.50 and $45.50; (813) 229-7827 and www.strazcenter.org
For actress Danielle Trzcinski, getting spanked is all in a day’s work – not to mention it’s so much fun. “Who wouldn’t want to be spanked by a really hot guy?” exclaims Trzcinski, 27, who plays Tasha Woode, a witty, virginal college grad who is introduced to a world of bondage by her billionaire boyfriend. Sound familiar? If so, you’re probably one of the millions of women – and men – who peeked between the pages of the best-selling erotic romance trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by author E.L. James, the international phenomenon that made Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey the stuff of romantic legends. Fans will have to wait a bit longer for the big screen version, but “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody,” a musical comedy loosely based on the novels, is coming Thursday to the Straz Center. The show is so popular, there currently are three simultaneous tours.
“It’s sort of like “Saturday Night Live” meets Chippendales,” says Trzcinski, who describes Woode as being a lot dizzier and funnier than her novel counterpart. Trzcinski didn’t read the books until she auditioned for the role in September. It piqued her inner goddess. “I call it research,” Trzcinski says during a telephone interview from Jacksonville, where the musical made a stop. “I read it in two days and became one of the millions of women who fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to play Tasha Woode.” Trzcinski, of Tampa, has been acting since she was in middle school. She grew up in Lutz and attended Tampa Catholic High School, where she stayed busy acting in community theater with roles in “Bye, Bye, Birdie” and “Annie, Get Your Gun.” In 2007, the Florida State University graduate moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. She starred in a production of “Non Equity the Musical,” for which she wrote the book and lyrics, and tours of Nickelodeon’s “Storytime Live.” But playing Woode allows her to play on her strengths as an actress. “It’s everything I’ve been trained to do in one role. I get to sing, act, and dance, do comedy, improvise. And (Woode) is pretty and sexy and innocent. There aren’t a lot of roles where you can be all of that.” In the three-person musical, Amanda Barker plays author E.B Janet, a housewife who decides to write a sex fantasy that spirals out of control, while the handsome billionaire boyfriend, Hugh Hanson, is played by Gabe Bowling. As a parody, the musical pokes fun at the bedroom relationship between Grey and Steele. But even if you aren’t familiar with the novel’s red room of pain, you’ll be entertained. “Comedy is comedy,” she adds. “And this is like 99 percent comedy. It’s based loosely enough that we don’t get sued, but it’s close enough that if you’ve read the books you’ll say, ‘Oh, I remember that.” Of course one of the most common questions Trzcinski hears, “Is Bowling as hot as Christian Grey?” “He’s very hot and very sexy,” she says. “But really, every woman comes (to the show) with their own idea of Christian Grey, so the chances of him being the Christian in their head is probably zero. But (Hugh) is incredibly handsome and talented, he can sing, dance and he’s straight, which is very rare (in this business).” Trzcinski says one of her favorite parts of the show is when the actors go out into the audience and ask for sex advice. The show can go in a totally different direction each night based on the audience’s responses and the actors’ improvisation. “I’ve gotten a little of everything,” she adds with a laugh. “Some of its fresh, some of its funny, some of it so weird it would never get into the paper. There are no censors, and we like it that way.” And the fun doesn’t end when the show’s over. The cast does a meet-and-greet with fans -- some who show up with grey ties and handcuffs – sign autographs and take pictures. “It’s so much fun to be a part of a show where the audience is so into it,” she says.