This year marks the third year I’ve stepped up to direct A Very DIE HARD Christmas at Theatre Unleashed, and the third year Theatre Unleashed’s holiday rep will be supporting the LAFD’s Spark of Love toy drive. I adore this show, and I adore directing this show. When Jenn and I walked into the Bryant Lake Bowl in 2014, we knew we were in for a treat, but we had no idea we were about to create a relationship with new friends in the Twin Cities, and discover a show that would become an annual tradition and a holiday staple on our season. I’m grateful that Jenn was willing to take a chance on watching a parody of a movie she’d never seen before (we fixed that as soon as we got back to LA, and she found herself laughing at really inappropriate places), and I’m grateful that Josh and company were open to our ragtag band of rogues and misfits putting our stamp on their show.

This year’s cast features a bunch of returning favorites, plus a few surprising new faces. As this is the third year we’ve done this show, we find ourselves facing an interesting challenge: how do we keep it fresh and new, while also keeping the established spirit of the production intact? I almost understand the kind of directorial jiu-jitsu the teams behind the new Star Wars trilogy have to execute. It’s a very fine line to walk.

Last year, our motto was “bigger, faster, deadlier” – more confetti, longer fights, and louder everything. Also, a working elevator door center stage.

This year? This year, we’ve decided to be “bolder, funnier, faithful-er.” What does that mean? Well, the writing team in Minneapolis has given us carte blanche with re-writing their material, so I let the cast go buck wild in rehearsal and we developed new lines, gags, and bits on the spot. There are now multiple references to The Princess Bride, an entire bit on the Wu-Tang Clan, and a killer Frozen one-liner (although that one’s arguably low-hanging fruit). To balance it out, though, we’ve also lifted more material directly from the movie, so you’re going to hear more of your favorite signature lines, like how John now knows what a TV dinner feels like.

Somehow, though, that didn’t seem like enough. So for the die-hard fans of DIE HARD, I decided to add in references to an entire subplot that got cut. One that changes the subtext of the iconic meeting of John and Hans. I only heard about this deleted subplot because of this article on SlashFilm.

Want to see what we did with it? Get a ticket now, because we’re already selling out.

Spreading the Spark of Love this holiday season.

This year, we’re once again proudly collecting toys for the Spark of Love campaign. This is the Los Angeles Fire Department’s chapter of Toys for Tots. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the box office and you can Name Your Ticket Price to see the show.

Why do we do this? Because part of our unwritten mission at Theatre Unleashed is to give back to the community that gives us so much. That’s part of what being a Los Angeles theatre company means to us.

About A Very DIE HARD Christmas at Theatre Unleashed

High above the city of L.A., a team of terrorists has seized a building, taken hostages, and declared war. One man has managed to escape. An off-duty cop hiding somewhere inside. He’s alone, tired…and he doesn’t like Christmas. Come see a stage version of the holiday classic, complete with action, humor, Professor Snape taking people hostage, singing, dancing, the guy from ‘Family Matters,’ guns, puppets, explosions, the EPA guy from ‘Ghostbusters’ getting punched in the face, and Christmas miracles and familiar holiday friends galore. Maybe even an appearance by the legend himself, Santa Claus! Yippee Ki-Yay, Father Christmas!

For tickets and more information, check out the official website of Theatre Unleashed, a Los Angeles Non-Profit theatre company.