Dallas — The AT&T Performing Arts Center will present One Woman Sex and the City: A Parody on Love, Friendship, and Shoes on March 19 at the Wyly Theatre. You know you’re already dusting off that tutu you keep in the back of your closet just for this occasion, polishing your nameplate necklace, texting your girlfriends the deets for your happy hour date, and scheduling an after-hours hang with your own personal Mr. Big.
Or is that just me?
Starring Kerry Ipema, who conceived the show with writing partner TJ Dawe—who is also directing and stage managing the production—the production covers all six seasons of the HBO hit series, complete with puns about cosmopolitans, the naked dress, a tantric sex demonstration, and the infamous Post-it note (why, Berger, why?). Ipema plays 24 characters, including the four main stars, all their boyfriends, and influential supporting characters, wears one costume for the entire show, and gives plenty of stage time to her shoes. Which I wager to say were the fifth main star of the show. Manolo Blahnik became a household name thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, and don’t tell me you didn’t want your own pair of blue satin crystal embellished pumps after Mr. Big gifted her with a pair (albeit in the first feature film, but it still counts.) “Hello, lover.”
For Ipema and Dawe talking about Sex and the City wasn’t work for them, but instead, a fun exploration of a show that was instrumental in defining a decade, and equally as influential in creating an example of the power of female friendship. Our best friends, Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte are strong, powerful women who offer a range of positions on life, love, and sex. The series showed a generation of young women working through the tensions and challenges of life, figuring out their place in the world, and defining what feminism meant to them. All the while, laughing hand-in-hand with their girl squad. The future is female.
TheaterJones chatted with Kerry Ipema about the show.
TheaterJones: It’s been nearly 12 years since Sex and the City went off the air. What was it like revisiting and rediscovering the show and its famous characters?
Kerry Ipema: The mere idea that watching SATC was for work was the best! I think what is so fun about our parody is that we are able to approach the material 12 years later. I think the time passed is so significant to parody and so much has changed since then that I have a blast commenting on how far we've come. I mean Donald Trump appears in an episode and they compare Mr. Big to him, so we have to address the elephant in the room—pun intended.
How do you go about keeping it fresh and relevant?
Ipema: I think looking at the show though the lens of 12 years later, is so fun and keeps the material up-to date. I also think the audience submissions make every show fresh and new and fun! I love that the show changes every night. I have freedom to add a joke from the news or even comment on something that is happening in the audience. It feels so special and each show is memorable for me, so I hope the audience feels the same way.
The nostalgia of the late 90s and early 2000s is coming back into favor, both in entertainment and fashion, but also in the resurgence of a strong female character. It’s just you up there on the stage, have you found that to be empowering?
Ipema: Oh my gosh, YES! I love looking out at the audience and seeing a sea of women, and specifically the groups of women coming to the show together. I think what was so groundbreaking about SATC is that it showed independent women who were sexually active and not shamed for it, and more importantly it really highlighted the importance of female friendships. I would be nowhere without my friends, so I love seeing that represented. This show is about celebrating your friendships because there truly is nothing else like having a wonderful group of people to support you.
We all have our favorite Sex and the City episode. I know I do! Out of all six seasons, what is your favorite episode, the one you just can’t get enough of?
Ipema: I think my favorite episode is “Coulda Woulda Shoulda” I love it because it’s one of those episodes that is so beautiful and poignant and you see the power of women supporting women. The show is so campy and fun, but it also has these really significant hard hitting moments. In the episode, Miranda finds out she is pregnant and Charlotte finds out she has a 15 percent chance of conceiving. You have these two great friends with very different circumstances, but at the end they all support one another. They all are there for each other. They all have different opinions, but they love and support each other regardless of any difference.
So, are you a “Carrie,” “Miranda,” “Charlotte” or “Samantha?”
Ipema: I’d like to consider myself a Carrie with a Steve rising.
You come from an improv background. How has that helped you prepare for this role and production?
Ipema: It has helped me so much with touring and going with the flow from place to place. I love the ability to laugh with the audience and break the 4th wall and engage. If something is getting a laugh, I can riff and elaborate on the joke on the fly. I also love that we invite the audience to write down their deal breakers and crazy date stories and have fun with it that way. It’s like getting these incredible suggestions from the audience every night and it creates a community with the audience every night.
You are about halfway through your 11-week U.S. tour. How has life been on the road? And how has the reception been for the show?
Ipema: It has been really incredible. I am humbled every night to see people coming to see the show especially with their girlfriends. The fact that people are coming to the show leaves me so grateful and happy every night. It really is a joy to share this show with people across the country. I think now more than ever, we need to get in a room and laugh with a bunch of strangers and have fun! That’s what I hope this show achieves.
What do you hope that an audience walks away saying or feeling after seeing this show?
Ipema: I hope the audience walks away feeling empowered, wanting to make more time with their girlfriends, and with their belly and cheeks hurting from laughing. I want everyone to have fun!