BWW Review: RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR Takes Flight with the Glorious Rockettes
It's the most wonderful time of the year at Radio City Music Hall! The Rockettes are in fine form and have kicked off the holiday season with another slick and polished production that's directed and choreographed with finesse by Julie Branam. Just watching that glorious orchestra rising up out of the pit while playing a festive overture certainly gets one into the holiday spirit.
We first discover the leggy Rockettes as they appear from beneath the stage sporting reindeer antlers, preparing to guide the sleigh for Santa. But before he takes flight they treat us to a show-stopping routine that demonstrates their razor sharp precision and eye-high kicks.
The show cleverly utilizes the latest technology to create some breathtaking imagery. The 3-D animation during "Santa Flies To New York" is particularly remarkable. There's also a special moment during "Snow" where giant snowflake bubbles ascend (via GPS) from the orchestra pit and fly over the audience much to the delight of the little ones.
Audience favorite Charles Edward Hall returns as Santa Claus and makes for one terrific, jolly old St. Nicholas! Acting as our host, he gleefully ties together many of the production numbers, and really knows how to engage the crowd. He's especially heartwarming in the story of two young brothers, Ben and Patrick (played by the charming Jad Grey and Jack Broderick during my performance) who meet him while shopping for a Christmas present for their sister.
"The Nutcracker" features some fine technical dancing by the young Clara (Alexandra Hoffman at this performance), and the show closes with the traditional "Living Nativity."
Yet it's the Rockettes who are the captivating stars of this production, and they surely don't disappoint. "The Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers" with its thrilling, synchronized choreography and the tap-happy "Rag Dolls" are both back and prove to be audience favorites. The "Here Comes Santa Claus" number was especially fun this year as several of the "multiplying" Santa's (48 in total) entered down the aisles of the theatre and playfully interacted with the audience before hitting the stage.
It's nice to see how the Rockettes have evolved over the past few years. The women are much more technically proficient and have been allowed to dance with a bit more freedom in several of the newer numbers without sacrificing their trademark precision.
Anyone looking to be put in the holiday spirit needs to look no further than Rockefeller Center and the extravaganza that is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!
For more information on the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which runs through January 3rd, please visit: radiocitychristmas.com
Photo courtesy: MSG Entertainment