Radio City Music Hall Is Decked Out for the Holidays with the Christmas Spectacular Starring the High-Kicking Rockettes and Santa Himself
By: Ellis Nassour
The Showplace of the Nation, Radio City Music Hall, really knows how to
kick [pardon the pun] off the Yule season! The 87th Edition of the Christmas Spectacular not only brings jolly old Saint Nick to the world’s greatest stage but also the fabulous Rockettes. The famed glam, 36-strong troupe set the standard for challenging precision dance and high kicks. Through January 3, whether you’ve been naughty or nice, there’s no better place to lift spirits and create lasting family memories than with this cherished holiday tradition
Embraced by generations of families, the always eagerly-anticipated show is estimated to have been seen by 75 million over the years. It’s become as synonymous with NYC as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, Rockefeller Center, and the U.N.
You’ll get swept away as soon as you enter the Art Deco lobby where a jaw-dropping 35′ mobile tree made up of 6,000 Swarovski crystals greets you. You can have your photo taken with Santa and a Rockette [for a $35 charge – a bit much for a show that has corporate sponsorship].
Another experience a visit to the Music Hall offers is the pre-show duel of the mighty Wurlitzer organs with a concert of holiday favorites. Then comes the fastest-paced 90-minutes [no intermission] in show business.
Besides jaw-dropping spectacle via incredible sets and state-of-the-art technology, there’s digital magic on the world’s largest flying indoor LED screen. Santa and his sleigh arrive with a bevy of beautiful Rockette reindeer.
Soon, Santa’s in the driver’s seat for whirlwind 3D tour of NYC.
The show also features such perennial favs as the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, the high-energy tap-infused The Twelve Days of Christmas, Santa’s phantasmagorical North Pole workshop, a hilarious version of the Nutcracker where department store toys come alive to dance with a young ballerina, ice-skaters in Central Park, and, of course, the grand finale with the Living Nativity.
Santa not only sings, but instills the spirit and true meaning of the holidays. The Rockettes appear in eye-popping razzle-dazzle costumes after eye-popping razzle-dazzle costumes [by two-time Tony winner (with 10 nominations) and Drama Desk winner (with eight nominations) Martin Pakledinaz; two-time Tony winner (with six nominations) and two-time Drama Desk winner Greg Barnes; and Frank Krenz], even doing a quick change in "New York at Christmas" onstage as they are whipped through NYC on a Grey Line tour bus that parks in a Times Square ablaze with fireworks.
To further captivate audiences, in the whimsical Rockettes’ number "Snow," the production extends beyond the stage to transform the Hall into a winter wonderland with computer-navigated snowflakes soaring over audiences. To add that special touch, just in case you’re wishing for a white Christmas, you get one [and are treated to virtual blizzard as exit].
Directing and choreographing the Spectacular is former Rockette Julie Branam. There are songs by DD nominee MarkWaldrop. Music directing the full Radio City Music Hall Symphony Orchestra is Kevin Stites.
Support Madison Square Garden’s Garden of Dreams Foundation by making the holidays brighter for the less fortunate with the donation of unwrapped toys. Visit www.gardenofdreamsfoundation.org to learn more about this widely encompassing charity for special needs children supported by team athletes and artists.
Tickets for the Christmas Spectacular, presented by Chase, are $42.10 – $116, with prime seating from $125.50 – $176.40. Premium packages are $176.40 – $204.10, which include a stockingful of treats. They’re available at the Music Hall box office, online at www.radiocitychristmas.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling (866) 858-0007 [service fees apply]. Prices include a $6 per ticket facility charge. Behind-the-scenes guided tours of Radio City Music Hall and its costume and design shops are available daily. For information, visit www.StageDoorTour.com or call (212) 247-4777.