Don't-Miss List December 6-12: Comedy Tonight! Gilda Radner lives, 'Fifty Shades' becomes a musical

December 6, 2012

Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted Street, 800-982-2787; through December 16; tickets $42.50-$52.50.

What were the chances a musical parody of Fifty Shades of Grey would be anything more than an endless series of jokes about middle-aged women masturbating? While there are certainly plenty of those, Spank! is actually a hilarious satire of practically every trope in popular culture, from the conventions of Harlequin romances to the standard scenes in chick flicks. This entire enjoyable evening is performed by three improv-trained actors who handle songs, impossible dance maneuvers, ludicrous dialogue and conversations with the audience with equal ease. Perfect for a girls' night out/bachelorette party/frothy evening. You don't have to have read the book to get the show — and, of course, I haven't. 

Celebrating Gilda, Second City's UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Avenue, 312-337-3992; Thursday December 6 only from 5 to 6 p.m.; free!

Now that a tone-deaf group of Gilda's Clubs around the country have announced their intention to change their names because nobody remembers Gilda Radner, the Second City has decided to make it clear why people should remember her. This is not a show but a panel discussion of Gilda's influential work featuring Mainstage ensemble cast members, Second City alumni and a member of the Governing Board for Gilda's Club Chicago — whose name will remain proudly the same. Doors open at 4:45. Get there early: This group of people won't be able to help being funny.