Nice & naughty

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Perhaps because the show features a sketch about a new male enhancement drug called "The Jackhammer" and another about a teenage son and his date catching his parents in flagrante delicto, it's quickly pointed out that Bringin' Sexy Back, Shadowbox's annual winter sex show, isn't any more vulgar than their usual fare.

"It's our most naughty," said Katy Psenicka, Shadowbox performer, choreographer and spokeswoman. "I don't think it's dirty. I wouldn't call it adult. It's not any more of those words than any other show is, but it's definitely more naughty. It's got that twinkle in the eye."

A Shadowbox staple for more than a decade, the annual sex show used to be called "Sex at the Box," but the title was changed this year to make it clear the show is comprised of new, original sketches and a new lineup of songs on the band stage.

The sketch that's drummed up the most excitement with members of the company is "Viewing Bobby Brown," a spoof on chat show The View with celebrity guest Bobby Brown. Cast member Amy Lay, who will portray Elisabeth Hasselbeck, is already predicting it'll be a returning sketch, while Psenicka, who will become Barbara Walters, said it "has a chance to be the big, anchor sketch to the show."

Many of the show's other sketches feature new adventures of returning characters. Frequent game show opponents the Andersons and the Ducks will now appear in "Wife Swap," which will send Upper Arlington matron Betsy (Psenicka) to the south side of town while Misty (Lay) will spend two weeks as an Anderson.

Retired Burlesque star Busty Wiggles (Julie Klein) is back to teach some rookies the ins and outs of being a phone sex operator.

Cable show hosts Gary and Galinda have ditched the gardening and home makeover shows for a political talk show that Psenicka, who will play Galinda, said is full of double entendre.

Head writer Jimmy Mak said the challenge in bringing characters back is finding a blend between the spirit of the original idea and some fresh twists.

"How do we make it not the exact same sketch we had before?" he said. "There are elements of recurring characters that people love and want to see, so you have to bring those elements back, but what you don't want to do is just give them the exact same package as the last time."

The sketches are broken up by company members singing with house band BillWho? Steve Guyer, Shadowbox CEO and executive producer, said he likes to use the songs to take the audience on a journey through musical history.

"There's something really new, a few things are from that classic rock era and then [we] try to hit all the eras in between," he said. "Not just the time frames, but styles too. We try to hit all the bases because its fun for us.

"Plus it's educational," he added. "Those people that only listen to hard rock are going to hear something else when they come to our show, like it or not. We hope that if we do a good job with it, it'll be fun, even if it's not your favorite."

Among the songs in this year's show is Guyer's version of "Back Door Man" by the Doors, Klein performing Journey's "Anyway You Want It" and Jerrod Wigton and Storm Woods singing a duet of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative," accompanied by a dance choreographed by Psenicka.

Although it deals with a number of taboo subjects, for the company, the show is more about relationships and love than just pure raunchiness. Still, it promises to be plenty sexy as well as funny.

"I think that's what draws people to it," Klein said. "It's a little sexier on the band stage and with costuming and things like that. It's a nice one after the holiday show, which is a bit milder for us, to jump right back in and remind people we haven't changed a bit."

What: "Bringin' Sexy Back"

When: Jan. 8-March 21

Where: Shadowbox, Easton Town Center