Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes®
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
The Radio City Rockettes were formed in 1925 by Russell Markert and were originally called the Missouri Rockets. They found immediate success and expanded into a number of troupes – and one of those troupes made their debut at Radio City Music Hall in 1932 as the ‘Roxyettes’. Radio City became a popular venue for movies to open – and each of those openings featured a stage production from the Rockettes.
Since their bright start, the Rockettes have performed overseas entertaining the troops during the Second World War, and even hosted a War Bond Rally alongside Eleanor Roosevelt at Madison Square Garden. They made their TV debut in the 1950s and performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1957. During the 1960s the Rockettes evolved with the tiles with their costumes and routines in the 1970s they managed to save Radio City from closure when it was designated a New York City landmark. In the 1980s the Rockettes began to present ninety-minute stage shows and went on the road, and in the 1990s Radio City Music Hall was restored to its former glory with a refurbishment and modernization.
The Rockettes maintain huge popularity to this day: they performed at George W Bush’s inaugurations in 2001 and 2005 and were transformed into a more modern dance company by Linda Haberman, who was appointed sole director and choreographer in 2006. Since then, their Christmas Spectaculars have become even more and more bright, lavish, and sparkling: there is no better way to celebrate Christmas.
It would be hard to dispute that if there is a camel on stage, it will automatically be the star of the show. This year’s Christmas Spectacular features The Living Nativity which sees real-life sheep and camels moving onto the stage. In theatre, actors are told never to work with children or animals, but in this case, the animals are always remarkably well behaved – and the children in the audience will be amazed. It’s a quiet and lovely moment amid the usual Christmas spectacle that will remind you what the true meaning of Christmas really is. But the biggest highlight of the show is the undisputed skill of the dancers. The Rockettes are the best in the business, and this show will demonstrate exactly why that is.
One of the best things about the Christmas Spectacular is that although it’s different every year, audiences are always guaranteed to leave the splendid auditorium feeling thoroughly entertained and full of festive cheer. This year, audience members are presented with 3-D glasses for Santa’s tour across the Brooklyn Bridge, the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building, with spectacular digital projections that will capture the attention of even the youngest members of your family. The show moves smoothly between different scenes featuring the tightly choreographed precision dancing of the Rockettes, and the incredible audio effects in the auditorium will make the tap dancers sound like you’re right next to the stage even if your seats are at the back of the audience.
The show starts by taking the audience on a 3D sleigh-ride, skimming over the Manhattan skyline on the way to the North Pole. Animated trains loaded with toys and cheeky elves glide across the proscenium arches of the art deco-style Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center. The taps of the Rockettes’ shoes echo around the theatre thanks to tiny microphones embedded in their shoes, and dozens of dancing Santas on stage are joined by hundreds of cartoon St. Nicholas stretching as far as the eye can see on a massive LED screen backdrop, and across the ceiling, and walls in a truly immersive experience.
Director-choreographer Julie Branam holds tight on the reins, expertly guiding her enthusiastic cast. The numbers are crisp and full of vitality. Not a misstep throughout, the show seamlessly transitions from scene to scene. It also looks like there’s been some sprucing up in the choreography for the ensemble members. Their dancing is much more fluid and utilizes their technical prowess. Kudos to the dancers and singers who add an extra sparkle this year.
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