Hurts so good: talking shop with the star of ‘Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody’
Drew Moerlein was just a nice boy from New Hampshire before he was cast as twisted, sadomasochistic playboy Christian Grey in “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody.” Part musical, part comedy, part “interpretive dance,” the Canadian-based production (an unauthorized parody) was such a hit on its first run on stages across the country that they’re hitting many of them again for the second time this year. Didn’t read the book and worried you won’t get the show? You needn’t be. Like all things we love to hate, just being aware that E.L. James’ ridiculously prurient “Fifty Shades of Grey” series exists is enough for most people to know everything they need to. It doesn’t hurt (unless you want it to) to be prepared, however, so we got Moerlein to fill in the grey areas before the show stops in Boston, Philly, and New York this month and next.
Are you playing to fans of the books or detractors?
We play to everyone. We’re about to play Nashville, which is a bit more of a conservative town, you know? We’re not about to stick vibrating vaginal balls up somebody’s crevice and then not have an audience for the next two nights. We try and find a happy medium between shock and awe and light, hilarious innuendo.
Was being into S&M, belonging to sex clubs or having a dungeon in your basement part of the job description for getting this role?
Yes, I had to show them the slaves tied up in my basement in order to get this part. No. (laughs) I had to do a lot of research. The cookies on my computer were pretty interesting for the first couple months of this process. As an actor you obviously need to be able to tap into those weird, dark, kinky places, but that does not have to be a part of your outside life.
Wouldn’t it be funny if this actually was your lifestyle, though?
Wouldn’t it be, though? I’m currently propped up above my hotel room like a spider with needles through my nipples.
So, did you read the books?
For “research.” And no, I did not read it thinking it was a literary masterpiece, but it made this woman a billionaire. She did something right.
Did you get a “woodrow” reading them?
Oh I got a “woodrow,” if I’m assuming what a “woodrow” is! I was pretty much standing at “woodrow mast” the whole book. No. I don’t think that men have the same reaction to the book as women do. Every single day I hear “this changed my sex life.” From women and from men. Men are like, “yo, I can’t hate on that book. The week my wife was reading that book was pretty much the best sex we’ve had in ten years.”
Let’s say you had a nice, little old set manager and he didn’t know anything about your show. What is he going to see that’s going to shock him?
He might open up a box that contains a very phallic rubbery object that is attached to an everyday household sports item with florescent hair attached to it. That’s one.
I am sure that your family and friends are accustomed to the occupational hazards of your job, but did this job present any particularly memorable interactions?
I’ve got very old fashioned, lovely and amazing grandparents from Alaska. They flew down to Florida and came to see us in Jacksonville. I was totally fine with it. I was prepared and ready for what was about to happen. I was doing the show and I forgot that they were there. I was waiting to go on before I disrobe, if you will, down to a very tiny man piece, and I realize I’m about to be shaking my man-jewels in my grandma and grandpa’s face. We’re in a small venue. There’s no question that when I thrust my manhood towards the audience that that’s what’s going to be happen, my junk to their face. That was a bit intense, and I was a bit tentative when I turned around for that.
When you go out for a drink after the shows, do you ever stay in character?
Well I don’t think my lady friend would be too keen on that. I will say this: the opportunities present themselves on a nightly basic. It is as though these women are in a fantasyland. It is like they are at a strip club with their friends, wasted off their faces. I have 60-year-old women molesting me after the show. It’s quite something.
If you go
“Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody”
May 30-June 1
246 Tremont St. Boston
Perelman Theatre in the Kimmel Center
300 South Broad St., Philadelphia
127 East 23rd St., New York