A Rockin’ Christmas: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

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With a 2007 production set to redefine “spectacular,” Radio City Christmas Spectacular promises to delight audiences with a showcase of pure excitement.

By Valentina Zuric

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 As a place for entertainment, amusement, inspiration, and elevation, this year’s breathtaking special effects are either brand-new or re-imagined, with fireworks lighting up the New York City skyline as Santa is seen flying over the Great Stage.

At 50th Street and 5th Avenue, a mountain of branches is covered in five miles of light, as a giant statue of Prometheus watches over the young and the young-at-heart ice skating below. Nothing says Christmas like the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, yet this holiday season something more spectacular is coming to New York. Famous for their high kicks and precision dancing, the Rockettes are back by popular demand, taking audiences on a thrilling tour through Manhattan for their 75th Celebration of Christmas Spectacular.

I remember my first experience seeing the illustrious production, known for fulfilling every child’s dream of Christmas. Sitting in a 6,000-seat Art Deco auditorium at Radio City Music Hall almost 15 years ago, I was carried through a kinetic montage of New York landmarks like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, wide-eyed and captivated with uninhibited applause.

The curtain rose, and Santa and his magical sleigh flew over New York. Thirty-six strong and beautiful Rockettes exploding through the doors of Radio City, neatly lined up with their legs in perfect stances ready to explode into high-kicks. Soon, wooden soldiers came to life on stage, surrounded by Santa’s flying reindeer, dancing teddy bears, flying snowflakes, oh my! I now sat at the edge of my seat, shouting, “Christmas is everywhere!”

I remember the enthralling “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” a modern masterpiece of precision dancing, with the women dressed in the latest generation of the stunning soldier uniforms designed by Vincente Minnelli, with wide-legged white pants, snug red jackets, tall black hats, and animated smiles. They moved swiftly in one impeccable line, rotating in sharp circles, and standing in profile when they pretended to be hit by cannons, collapsing one by one, each hooking arms with another dancer in front of them. Similar to a game of human dominos, each woman’s body subsided into the next, leaving the audience completely abstracted by their austere beauty.

As a place for entertainment, amusement, inspiration, and elevation, this year’s breathtaking special effects are either brand-new or re-imagined, with fireworks lighting up the New York City skyline as Santa is seen flying over the Great Stage. The spirit of Christmas is reborn, with a deceivingly complex, yet glamorous style.

It is Linda Haberman’s second year as the first female director and choreographer of the show that has made the 2007 Christmas Spectacular so mesmerizing. Bringing forth amazing entertainment, polishing perennial numbers, and introducing a new one that would have warmed the heart of Russell Market, creator of the Rockettes, Haberman was able to recreate the power of the famous Rockettes. “This year’s show is unmistakably the most dynamic version of the Christmas Spectacular that has graced the Great Stage,” says Haberman. “We’ve pushed the possibilities for more daring Rockette choreography, created dazzling new costume looks, incorporated technology and stage effects in a way that makes the audience feel as though they are part of the magic onstage.”

Time Magazine has called the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, “One of the Grandest Holiday Traditions in the U.S.” Running for six weeks from November 9 to December 24, this year’s celebration is saluting one of the most acclaimed entertainment institutions in the world. “We’ve created an entirely immersive experience this year that captures the warmth and magic of Christmas like never before,” says Jonathan Hochwald, executive vice president of productions, MSG Entertainment.

Seen by approximately 62 million people since its inception in 1933 when it was originally performed as a holiday “gift” between movie screenings, this year’s extravagant show has drawn numerous people from around the world in hopes of experiencing a quintessential New York City Christmas. Promising to continue to create memories that audiences have come to treasure, this year’s edition of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular will envelop patrons, taking them on a magical journey from New York to Santa’s North Pole-a true celebration, 75 years in the making!

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