Cirque du Soleil VOLTA

(Not from Chicago?  Find a show near you or coming soon.)

Blogger’s note: Action photos are not easy to capture so, apologies for some of the burry images.

I really enjoy Cirque du Soleil.  So does my SO.  We saw our first show in Orlando years ago and were blown away by the theatrics, beauty, and unbelievable acrobatic talent of its performers.  There are many different versions of this show and VOLTA is here in Chicago right now.  It has set up its big top in Soldier Field’s South parking lot and is here until July 6.

Cirque du Soleil means “Circus of the Sun” or “Sun Circus”.  The Canadian company is also the largest theatrical producer in the world.  Each show is combination of different circus styles from around the world.  There are currently 20 different productions (permanent and touring) all over the world right now.  Las Vegas alone has 7 permanent ones to choose from!  As a matter of fact, my all-time favorite one, “O” is based there in the Bellagio Hotel.

“Volta is the title of Cirque du Soleil’s big top show which is themed around extreme sports. The show’s storyline is about a game show contestant named Waz, who has lost touch with himself; he starts a personal quest to find his true self by going through his memories, after discovering a group of free spirits who encourage him during this process.” – Wikipedia

The extreme sports portion was just two segments involving BMX bikes.  Super cool stunts and tricks.  One of the acts was a rider doing spins and tricks on his bike while another performer danced around him.  It was honestly pretty beautiful.  The other segment had five riders performing stunts and tricks on a half-pipe.  Watching them land after doing spins and flips was edge-of-your-seat fun.

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Besides the extreme sports, there was the usual mix of acrobatics, both floor and aerial, dance and music.

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One of my favorite acts of the night was the trampoline acrobatics.  When they first brought the structure out, I got excited because I had seen something similar in another production.  Then, they revealed it to have trampolines on both sides.  Brilliant.

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Another pleasant aspect of the shows is the fitness level of the acrobats.  The guys are super ripped and the women have toned dancer bodies.  Sadly, I was only able to get this one picture.

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Tickets start at $70.00 (the site says $49 but that is for kids 2-12).  I was able to find discounted tickets on Goldstar for $35.00 (plus fees, but you would be paying those from their site as well).  This is a small venue so even the seats in the back or off to the side (we were both) were still pretty good.  It is a circular stage, so the performers work all angles and the stage rotates.

The show is only here for another two weeks so get your tickets soon!

Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas! A Die Hard Musical Parody

Welcome to the party pal!

First, let’s start with the decades-old debate: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie or not?  The answer is clearly YES.  The movie takes place on CHRISTMAS EVE at a CHRISTMAS PARTY.  I could keep going on to support my argument, but this article breaks it down even further.

As further proof that Die Hard should be considered a Christmas movie is the fact that The Den Theatre is hosting the (now) annual holiday production of “Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas!  A Die Hard Musical Parody”.  This is the fifth year for the show (but it has not always been at this location).  They even have a few cast members who have continued to reprise their roles since its origination in 2014.

It is over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek, comedy gold.  Let’s start with the character names.  John McClane is now Bruce McClane.  Holly Genero is now Holly Generic.  Hans Gruber is now Hans Olo.  Come on.  That’s good stuff right there.

One of the first big musical numbers takes on Holly Generic’s move away from New York, and her husband, to take a high-powered job for the Nakatomi corporation.  The whole “Working Girl” (another classic 80’s movie) vibe included the power suits and the hilariously big hair.

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My SO and I appreciated some of the authenticity as well.  Bill Gordon (Bruce McClane) sounded just like Bruce Willis.  Even better, Gary Fields (Hans Olo) sounded just like the late, great, Alan Rickman (sexiest bad guy voice ever – amiright?).  And Erin Long’s Klaus is one of the best things about this production.

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The show is a mix of 80’s references peppered with some current jokes.  Like most parodies, we want to go and see it again because I am sure we missed a few puns or gags the first time around.  As a bonus, I was almost giddy when, intentional or not, the head FBI agent looked just like Bert Macklin, FBI.  (If you don’t get this Park and Recreation reference we might not be able to be friends).

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A few things to know before you go: 1) the Den theatre is small.  Maybe 150 seats.  Shows are already starting to sell out. 2) there is no parking at the theatre.  Metered parking and street parking only.  Plan accordingly.  3) Tickets are $45, however, I was able to find them on Goldstar (discount ticket site) for $22.50.  I know.  It’s a gift.  You’re welcome.

If you are a fan of the original Die Hard movie, this is a really fun date night idea.  If you can’t make it in before Christmas, you are in luck.  This play runs through January 12.  Yippee Ki-Yay . . . !