In-person production of ‘YAMO: It’s Cold Outside’ cut short due to surge in COVID cases


Editors’ Note: The following YAMO review was written prior to the cancellation of the production’s last three shows. Given that YAMO is such a staple within the ETHS community, The Evanstonian was saddened to see the last three shows cut short due to rising COVID-19 cases. However, the following story aims to highlight the effort that the YAMO cast and crew put in to make the production what it was. Additionally, while The Evanstonian attempts to remain timely in our reporting, please understand that our journalistic process limited us in our ability to edit every story featured in this issue. That said, we hope you enjoy the review of YAMO: It’s Cold Outside.

Statement from Rory Behm, YAMO General Director: “The actors and directors are, of course, devastated that we won’t be able to put on the show after months of work. Ultimately, though, what’s most important is securing the safety of our actors. I hate to be cheesy, but you get really close with your company of actors after months of pulling a show together, so even if YAMO isn’t able to go up- we’re still in (digital) contact, and we’re still supporting each other. I’m grateful that I was able to do the work I could, and I’m glad I can know the actors are safe.”

YAMO is back in-person with a bang, as the sold-out production made its 64th annual debut on Dec. 9. YAMO: It’s Cold Outside features comedy sketches, singing numbers and dance performances all to the melodies of the live orchestra. This student-led production showcases remarkable initiative, talent and reunites the community through lots of laughter.

The show opened with an all-cast set, featuring a hilarious announcement from Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and a musical number introducing the play. Then, the skit titled “Chad & Brad Saw What?!?!” kicks off the comedy skits with a hilarious parody of Gen-Z in a Saw movie. The entire first act is filled with creative dances like “YAMO Baby,” skillful acting like in “Major Sadness” and in “Emotional Rollercoaster” as well as comical musical numbers like “A Whole New Empire” and “I Love You, Bear-Bear.” 

The second act continues to deliver, as standout performances include the entertaining “Lollapocalypse Now”, the rhythmic “Jayn’s Super Secret Private Snapchat Story” and the vibrant and fun “Get Loose!” dance. Each skit is clever, well-written and overall does a great job of cohesive storytelling.

“Being able to kind of put down your own ideas and eventually see them performed is super gratifying. It’s really cool to be able to see stuff that you wrote down on a stage with lights and technical [elements].” General Director Rory Behm says.

While the show makes it seem like no time has passed since the cast’s last on-stage performance, this year’s entire production team has been committed to get everything just right for this return to stage. 

“The board has been working since about late May or June writing the show and getting everything ready. That’s been non-stop work,” Unexpected Company Director George Weiler details.

Since last year’s show was virtual and pushed back until the spring, the turnaround from auditions to being live on-stage was extremely fast. Students have rehearsed hours a day editing, revising and performing the production.

“The rehearsal process has been a balance between hard work and fun. A lot of time and effort is put in, and I also love spending time with everyone in the cast,” senior Isabela Sant’Anna-Skites (Dance Company) says. 

Despite these challenges, the cast is happy to be back in-person and performing live again. With the entire production team totaling over 130 students, students were able to reconnect and get to know new cast members.

“I enjoy getting to know a lot of the people that I wouldn’t have normally gotten to connect with if I hadn’t tried out for YAMO,” senior Adam Hammock (Unexpected Company) says. 

In the second act, the Dance Company also recreates the holiday dance from Mean Girls in “Naughty List,” inviting the audience to sing along parallel to the film. The theater lights rise up with voices, creating an overall community feel that connects the audience to the cast. Throughout the show, it’s clear that the welcoming atmosphere and student connection helps to make this show a success.

“My favorite thing about the show was the people. Everyone was super cool and funny and I enjoyed every second of it,” freshman Zach Cutter (Acting Company) says.

Contributor: Kayla Drajpuch