Defining Relationships: Best Friends and Hilarious Experiences on Stage with ‘Little Black Dress’

Photos by Dahlia Katz

Interview with writer Danielle Trzcinski

There are certain things every woman should have in their back of tricks; the perfect shade of red lipstick, a favorite pair of comfy PJs, a best friend who’s seen you at your worst and loves you any way and that little black dress that moves seamlessly from day to night, wedding to funeral and work-party to after-party.

”Little Black Dress” is the musical equivalent of a girl’s night out with chocolate, martinis and maybe strippers. The FSCJ Artist Series presents the feverishly funny production June 25-27 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. Audiences are introduced to Dee and her best friend Mandy as they experience the girls’ major life events in their little black dresses – first job interview, first date, first awkward sexual experience – which happens more than once – first funeral, and more!

After being on tour for close to three years together with the wildly successful Spank! The Fifty Shades of Grey Parody, writers Danielle Trzcinski and Amanda Barker recognized a market hungry for more than just a stage show. Audiences wanted an experience where they could laugh, party and let loose.

“It is the most fun. It’s just a blast. We laugh a lot and there’s a social element to it, too and that’s what the show is about. The show is a party but it’s got all the feels. Even with all the fun, friendship is really the center of this story,” Trzcinski says in a recent interview with EU Jacksonville. “Our story is about two girls who are best friends and have these really funny experiences together. As we’re getting older one is kind of living the more tradition life. She has a husband and a kid and the other is single and more career-oriented. Even though they’re living these different lives, the friendship is still there.”

Little Black Dress, FSCJ Artist Series, Jacksonville, Florida, Photography by Dahlia Katz

The pair crafted the story of Dee and her best friend Mandy who share major life events in their little black dresses from their first date, first awkward sexual experience – which happens more than once – first funeral, first job interview and more. Working with award winning director Christopher Bond and Broadway vocal arranger and composer Natalie Tenenbaum, Little Black Dress serves up hilarious improv, original songs and a heartfelt story. The sexy male stripper is just the icing on the cake.

Little Black Dress, FSCJ Artist Series, Jacksonville, Florida, Photography by Dahlia Katz

“It’s pretty magical to look out at the audience and see all of these women wearing their LBDs. Every single one is different. Women will come up to us after the show and say thank you, I just had a baby, I haven’t worn makeup or put on a dress in months and this gave me a reason to. Or I’ve been taking care of my 98-year-old mother and I haven’t laughed in forever. Just to see them all laughing and having a great time, it’s not just the show. We want them to have a whole night to remember.”

The original score echoes the message of fun and friendship. Tenenbaum, who also served as the vocal arranger of Mean Girls on Broadway, brings a sharp, clever rhythm to the production and reflects many of life’s most pivotal moments.

“People do walk away from the show humming and singing the songs and they’ve only heard it once. A lot of girls-night-out shows are jukebox musicals so they’re singing “It’s Raining Men” or “I Will Survive” and ours is a full, original musical with 17 songs. In musical theatre, there aren’t a lot of female writing teams. This is a musical written by women for women so it’s something I’m very proud of.”

Little Black Dress, FSCJ Artist Series, Jacksonville, Florida, Photography by Dahlia Katz

When they originally wrote the script, it was all about the notion that the strong choreography and the bonus of a hot male stripper would be the talk of the show but audiences quickly responded that it was the emotional center of the story that they related to the most.

“After the show ended, we’d be interviewing people and asking them what did you think of then show and they were like ‘wow, it really made me appreciate the women in my life’ and ‘I need to call my mom’,” she says.

Little Black Dress, FSCJ Artist Series, Jacksonville, Florida, Photography by Dahlia Katz

Many moments in the show are based on the defining relationships in her life and presented in a way all audiences will relate to. Among her own friendship group, Trzcinski says most of her friends are in the “child-bearing” season of life. It can be challenging to reconcile the carefree past with future responsibilities but it’s important that they to still find the time to hang out and nurture their friendships.

Little Black Dress, FSCJ Artist Series, Jacksonville, Florida, Photography by Dahlia Katz

“You have friends that you met when you were really young and you were best friends. As life goes on, you start to notice your paths are veering a little bit. A couple years ago, it was different. We were going out and partying and now it’s all about the babies which is great because I love my friends but you’re talking to them and the baby is crying the whole time,” she muses.

“The most important thing is that these women show up. That’s what I love about being woman. We love to party and we love to have fun but we are emotional creatures. We really are there for our sisters when they need us for these big life moments.”

About Liza Mitchell

october, 2021

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