Christmas in Chicago
Home for the holidays
|The Fine Print Theatre Company presents|
|Christmas in Chicago|
Review by K.D. Hopkins
I unabashedly love Chicago. Whenever there is a show such as Christmas in Chicago, I am on the lookout for authenticity and some real belly laughs. Fine Print Theatre Company does not disappoint on any level.
Christmas in Chicago is a four star revue that knocks over the sacred cows and political correctness with panache and a healthy helping of the sardonic humor that is Chicago. There is song, dance, and hysterical satire for everyone. Face it, you have to have a sense of humor to live in the City of Big Shoulders or you will get eaten alive.
Fine Print takes a great shot at Mayor Emmanuel’s famous take-no-prisoners attitude. In an imagined holiday call between the mayor and his brother – Hollywood super agent Ari – the gloves come off. In a bit of sharp sibling rivalry, Ari calls his brother a nine-fingered freak and Rahm replies ‘Hanukah Schmanukah’!
The economy is targeted as are the 1% in deliciously warped songs such as ‘Obama Baby’. An imagined twenty-something sings a paean to Obama while writing with her special glitter pen with tassels. Her boyfriend has a degree in marketing and cannot find a job to buy her stuff. She sings that the Red Eye is her trusted source of news and she will try to remain a Democrat if Obama Baby fixes the economy overnight-and if the Red Eye thinks it’s cool. Brilliant!
The sight of the cast as Wall Street bankers gleefully singing of the deficit and how good it is for them in "Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow!" is achingly funny. Speaking of sacred cows, I loved the spoof of Bill and Melinda Gates bemoaning how they have been stepped on now that the world is Jobs-less. They devise a way to canonize themselves now that there is a vacancy.
Let’s not forget the immigration issue. There is a problem at the North Pole because their best choo-choo train builder has been injured. The problem is that he is an undocumented elf from the South Pole-gasp! Mrs. Claus and the head of North Pole HR need those trains but how will they get medical care for the illegal elf?
The writing is brilliant for this review. David Himmel and Patrick Kenney pull out the stops and could teach the writers of SNL quite a bit about what is funny. The cast is top notch and the show is seamlessly directed by Aaron Graham. Hopefully Fine Print will bring us a repeat performance (with new material, of course) in 2112, for it’s just the type of laughter Chicago is craving for in the middle of all of the craziness and hustle that the holiday season has come to entail.
I am thrilled to have new song spoofs from a source other than Mad Magazine. After seeing this show, Christmas carols will never be the same! Ho! Ho! Ho! and Le Chaim!
Christmas in Chicago continues through December 18th at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm and 8pm. More information at fineprinttheatre.org.
All photos by Gretchen Kelley Photography
behind the scenes