Andrea Muller isn't what you'd call a wallflower, and the comedic actress doesn't embarrass easily. These two traits alone help explain why she'd want to star in a play called "Spank!"

The show's full title actually is "Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody," which only ups the ante in terms of the racy material contained within. Muller plays the role of Tasha Woode, the show's Anastasia Steele, or shy main character from the "Fifty Shades of Grey" books.

Muller will show off her acting assets — and nothing else, mind you — when the comedy that makes fun of the best-selling book and highly anticipated movie comes to Detroit's City Theatre for six performances. The show runs through Sunday. Tickets start at $37.50.

And, in case you were wondering, her parents are perfectly fine with the actress playing the title role in a play that involves sexual innuendo and far more.

"They are OK with it as long as there was no nudity on my part," Muller laughed. "I told them it wouldn't be a problem because only the guys take the shirts off. It's all about how good looking the guys are. My parents are actually excited for me because I get to do what I love and travel."

For the record, this isn't Muller's first time around the block. Muller played the beguiling female lead in the national tour of the show's sequel, "Spank Harder!" Let's just say that Muller knows that her character matures and evolves throughout the story's progression. She gets past the proverbial first base in more ways than one.

"She learns very quickly; she's actually not dumb," Muller noted. "That's one thing I did when I was researching the character. You have to ask: Why is she so clueless? Why is she so inexperienced? But that's what makes this show so fun. You go through that journey with her as she gains experience and gets smarter."

"Spank!" has grown into a box-office hit with more than 200 performances around the country and Canada. It is built around Christian Grey, the moody and mysterious main character from the "Fifty Shades" books — but the book author or the books themselves are in no way associated with this performance. This show is more funny than intense, Muller noted.

The show, which is described as the "ultimate girls' night out," is suggestive but it also has plenty of opportunities for laughter, Muller added. She's good at getting laughs; take a look at any of her "BuzzFeed" videos, especially the one about how restaurant workers really feel about rude customers (it makes you a lot more polite when you go out to eat).

The California-born Muller began her career at age 9 with her first musical, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," in which she was the lovable "Snoopy." She also has appeared in the lead role of Winifred in "Once Upon a Mattress, and as the lead, Hope, in "Urine Town" (see, she's not afraid of any play!). Her film career has included roles in "Schooled," "Isn't This Love" and "A Little Part of You."

"It's definitely sexy but it's so much more. Not only is the script generously written, the other actors I work with are genuinely funny," Muller said. "The other roles I've played, especially in those BuzzFeed videos, are good preparation for 'Spank!' because they keep you on your toes. Most of those videos are improvised. BuzzFeed gives you a premise and then lets you go. It keeps you going."

Karen Dybis is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.


The Musical'

Through Sunday

City Theatre

2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit

Tickets $37.50 and $42.50

(800) 745-3000

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