Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas confirms that Die Hard is indeed at heart a holiday movie | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas confirms that Die Hard is indeed at heart a holiday movie

The debate has finally been settled.



The title says it all. Conceived and written by librettists Michael Shepherd Jordan and Alex Garday with composer Stephanie McCullough and first presented in 2014 as a holiday attraction at the trio's now-defunct MCL Chicago comedy theater, this is a song-and-dance send-up of the 1988 thriller Die Hard. That movie, which starred Bruce Willis as a wisecracking New York cop fighting international criminals in Los Angeles (in his bare feet, yet!), was not only a showcase for brutal fight scenes and spectacular special effects. It was also a sly satire of global capitalism in the Reagan era, with Willis's self-styled "cowboy" single-handedly defeating a gang of German terrorists who had mounted a hostile takeover of the still-under-construction-skyscraper American HQ of a Japanese investment firm.

The better you know Die Hard, the more you're likely to enjoy this stage spoof, which has fun with the original film's sociopolitical subtext, as well as its far-fetched plotting, over-the-top action, and comic-book character stereotyping. Even when the script and songs come up short, the actors' improvisational spontaneity and seemingly endless energy keep the audience laughing. The cast includes agile Bill Gordon as Bruce McClane, Caitlyn Cerza as his estranged wife Holly Generic, Jenna Steege as her coked-up coworker, Jin Kim as their ill-fated boss Nintendo Nakatomi, Terrance Lamonte Rogers Jr. as Bruce's Twinkie-eating policeman pal, Nate Curlott as an in-your-face FBI agent, Gary Fields as the dapper criminal leader Hans Olo (get it?), Erin Long as his psychotic sidekick Klaus, and Jonathan Allsop as a high-tech safecracker.   v

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