Special Reports

5 of Our Favorite Parodies Now on Stage

From ”Saved by the Bell” to Snow White, nothing is sacred off-Broadway.

50 Shades! The Musical — The Original Parody at the Elektra Theatre
50 Shades! The Musical — The Original Parody at the Elektra Theatre.
(© Matthew Murphy)

New York audiences have an insatiable appetite for poking fun at the things they hold near and dear, including cherished fairy tales. From raking best-sellers over the coals to caricaturing beloved teenage sitcoms, off-Broadway theaters have offered up plenty of good old-fashioned parodies this year — all of them great for a night of uproarious laughter with friends.

Here's five of the best laugh-out-loud satires we've seen (so far). Despite the innocent-sounding titles of some of these shows, keep the kids at home. But adults looking for a riotous, sometimes raunchy time at the theater will find here the perfect party shows for a weekend with friends or an unforgettable date night.

The cast of Bayside! The Musical! at Theatre 80.
National Lampoon's Bayside! The Musical! at Theatre 80.
(© Curtis Peel)

1. National Lampoon's Bayside! The Musical!

There's no saving the Saved by the Bell gang in this hysterical parody of the hit early-'90s TV show. You don't have to be a die-hard fan of SBTB to laugh yourself sick at this zany send-up, but if you are, it might just be the best night of your life. Zach, Slater, Screech, Kelly, Jessie, and even Mr. Belding get some serious lampooning in this nonstop, laugh-a-minute musical. Find out who will develop a debilitating caffeine addiction, and watch Slater pose in his snug-fitting wrestling onesie. Bring your Trapper Keeper, and get ready to attend the wackiest school in the city.

50 Shades! The Musical — The Original Parody at the Elektra Theatre.
50 Shades! The Musical — The Original Parody at the Elektra Theatre.
(© Carol Rosegg)

2. 50 Shades! The Musical — The Original Parody

Remember all the brouhaha over E.L. James' erotic, S-and-M-themed novel Fifty Shades of Grey? Of course you do. Admit it, you read the whole series and are probably anticipating the movie. Before the film hits theaters, take in this guilty pleasure, a raucous riff on the original that will surprise you in more ways than one. There's blessed little plot to get in the way of the ridiculousness as the blissfully flighty virgin Anastasia Steele meets the seductive, provocative Christian Grey, who subjects her to his depravity, including whips, handcuffs, innumerable creative carnal acts, and filthy musical numbers. Join Anastasia as she learns to embrace her inner sexual goddess.

Pageant — The Musical at the Davenport Theatre.
Pageant — The Musical at the Davenport Theatre.
(© Tyrone Rasheed)

3. Pageant — The Musical

Ah, beauty pageants, those perennial tributes to talent and pulchritude. Alas, you'll find nothing ennobling in this gaudy but hilarious satire of superficiality, where six fiercely competitive contestants (all men in drag) take part in an epic battle of hairspray and cheesy quatrains spoken through perma-smiles and sparkly white veneers. Five lucky audience members get to vote for their favorite contestant, Miss Industrial North East and Miss Bible Belt among them, in this mighty contest for the coveted title of Miss Glamouresse. You'll come for the riotous laughs, but you'll stay for the endless parade of glitter, sequins, and — oh yes — spandex.

Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man at the 777 Theatre.
(© Jeremy Daniel)

4. Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man

What straight woman doesn't want to learn a few handy tricks to make her man happy in bed? And what better person to teach her than a sassy gay man. This hysterical take on a cheeky sex-instruction manual may not be a parody in the strictest sense, but it is hilarious and has been one of the best date-night shows playing since it opened earlier this year. Hosts Robyn and Dan will explain the importance of the phrase "Up, twist, over, and down" as hunky "scientist" Stephan gives lucky audience members one-on-one instruction on spicing up their game. Learning is fun!

Snow White and the Seven Bottoms at Theatre 80.
Snow White and the Seven Bottoms at Theatre 80.
(© Michael von Redlich)

5. Snow White and the Seven Bottoms

Leave the kids at home, please! The same company that brought Mildred Fierce to New York last year has released a new abomination upon the city in this ridiculously campy, knee-slapping musical send-up of the beloved children's classic. This gayified version of Snow White fills the stage with perversity, puppetry, and a playlist of catchy, irreverent numbers. Spend an evening with the Crawfordesque Evil Queen and her homoerotic magic mirror, a sexually ambiguous Prince Charming, and Snow White's petite, lumberjack-loving friends, who have names like Liza and Cher. Those little guys are hunting for husbands — so sugar daddies, beware.

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