The lights go up on a group of civilians who are decked in vibrant neon colors, funky patterned leggings adorned with bright leg warmers, and Ray-Ban-esque shades, transporting the audience into what appears to be a 1980’s Los Angeles. Amongst this crowd stands an off-duty NYC police officer, clearly on a mission and out of place. He takes in all the commotion that welcomes him to the “City of Angels”. Backed by a live band, the ensemble kicks off the opening musical number, with song lyrics that depict a hilarious stereotypical L.A. never failing to mention the excessive use of a favorite white powdered drug, cocaine. This is a laugh-out-loud, wild white Christmas!
MCL Chicago Makes Us Happy Hostages
Yippee Ki-Yay tells the story of a blue-collar NYPD cop, Bruce McClane, who ventures to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to rekindle his relationship with his highly successful CFO wife, Holly Generic, at her job at the Nakatomi Plaza. There he encounters the fashion obsessed German terrorist, Hans Olo, and his incredibly dim witted henchmen (including Marco, a “My Buddy” toy doll who quite literally makes his way around the space ) who take the cast and audience hostage. From here ridiculous shenanigans ensue, leaving everyone wondering how exactly Bruce will manage to get himself and everyone else out of the mess. There’s a wave of exhilaration in the air while waiting for a clueless McClane to sift through his plan of execution. Because in any given moment evil villain, Hans Olo may break out in song and selectively direct his notes to an audience member, lightly poking fun at their drab attire. Indeed the actors waste no time immersing the audience into their world of chaos. It’s truly as if you are being held hostage with the others in the Nakatomi Plaza.
There’s a lot occurring at once in multiple directions of the black box theatre. Action and melodies intertwine and unfold all over the stage, recklessly and seamlessly transitioning each scene as the live band of keyboards, guitar, and drums hold the beat of anticipation. Actors once clean and pressed costumes become bloodied and torn over time, and not so subtle 80’s references layer with the toe-tapping musical numbers, which are seriously a moment of comedic relief.
A lead FBI agent and his team make matters even more interesting by attempting to help Bruce and the hostages. The overly patriotic head agent is donned in an American flag tie and a pair of American flag aviators. The veins in his neck bulge as he aggressively blares out a tune while walking up and down the aisle stairway. The all American man sings, with beer and cigarette in hand very close in proximity to those fortunate enough to be sitting in an aisle seat, commanding audience members to sing and clap along. The willingness of audience participation makes for a unique experience, and a rollercoaster ride that is Yippee-Ki-Yay.
To those familiar and a fan of the 1988 cult-like classic “Die Hard,” will definitely get a kick out of this Christmas musical parody, but to those like this writer who haven’t seen the film will enjoy the musical production nonetheless. Regardless, catchy songs will linger in your head days later.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Terrance Lamonte Jr.
Tiffani Moore Swalley
Cathy Taylor Public Relations Inc.
Michael Shepherd Jordan
January 10th, 11th, and 12th at 8:00p.m.
The Den Theatre
1331 N.Milwaukee Ave
About the Author: Jordan Rome
Jordan Rome is an actress turned director/ writer/filmmaker working and living in Chicago, IL. She received her BFA in 2014 from DePaul University in PR and Advertising and Community Service Studies. She uses solo performance and film to deconstruct our understanding of race and body politics in America. She draws inspiration through the intimate exploration of Self and Source, both which she believes are spiritually and equally intertwined.
The professional work she’s accomplished in Chicago’s theatre/film include MPAACT Theater’s, Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health youth theatre program, Collaboraction Theatre, Theater Momentum, VAM Studios, and Soft Cage Films.