Yippee Ki-Yay . . .
A revived stage parody of the entertaining 1988 movie Die Hard is a perfect mix of action, comedy and music
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IF you’ve seen the popular movie Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis, then you know his profane farewell to the bad guys, “Yippee Ki-Yay, ------------,” is perhaps one of the most memorable––and repeated––lines in movie history.
Based on the movie’s popularity, executives at the former storefront comedy theater MCL Chicago created a tribute to the movie in 2014, and in subsequent years it gained a small but devoted audience. Now, with support from Yippee Productions LLC, an expanded version of the hit holiday musical Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody is getting more exposure during its run at The Den Theatre through January 12.
“Yippee was our marquee holiday production while running MCL,” says Michael Shepherd Jordan. “Over the four years we produced the show, it grew into a Chicago holiday tradition for us and our loyal audience. We’re thrilled to partner with esteemed Chicago producers to elevate this show and take it from storefront to an established venue.”
With a book and score conceived by Jordan, Alex Garday and Stephanie McCullough, Yippee Ki-Yay is a wild ride of comedy and music draped over the intense action of the original movie. An entertaining cast––animated, engaging and uproarious––puts their signature on this beefed-up production. Enter Bruce McClane (not John), Holly Generic (not Gennaro) and German terrorist Hans Olo (not Hans Gruber). Respectively, those roles are in the hands of Bill Gordon, Caitlyn Cerza and Gary Fields, all of whom deliver some special and memorable moments. Also featured are Jin Kim, Nate Curlott, Jonathan Allsop, Ashley Geron, Terrance Lamonte Rogers Jr., Erin Long, Jenna Steege and Alex Divirgilio.
Led by Bill Gordon (center, as Bruce McClane), the cast of Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody performs at The Den Theatre.
Gary Fields (Hans Olo) and Erin Long (Klaus/Tony) are part of the team of terrorists, and (below) Nate Curlotte (FBI Johnson) leads the investigation.
As it is in the movie, in the parody, the action takes place during a California Christmas, where it’s “a perfect 69 degrees.” After grumpy New York cop McClane arrives for a Christmas Eve office party at the request of his estranged wife Holly who encouraged him to “come out to the Coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs,” terrorists take over the building in Nakatomi Plaza and the action, music and comedy begin.
“The juxtaposition of turning an action movie into a musical, no less a beloved holiday action movie like Die Hard, is ripe for parody,” says producer Drew DeSantis. “As the lead producer for this musical, it has been a true pleasure working with Michael, Alex and Stephanie to elevate this show to the next level. Jim Jensen, Mark Michelson and I are thrilled to support a homegrown Chicago production as we fully develop this storefront favorite for a wider audience. It’s what Chicago theater should be doing.”
The expanded version of Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody, directed by Tiffani Moore Swalley, is a bigger and better holiday favorite for returning theatergoers, and for those recently acquainted with it, it has turned out to be an appealing, newfound, holiday gem.
Performances of Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are on sale at www.thedentheatre.com.