The Radio City Christmas Spectacular
The show's extremely entertaining 75th edition is a sparkly showcase for the fabulous Rockettes.
These lovely ladies show off their particular kick-line skills in the very first number, the smile-inducing "Sleighride," and they're rarely off the stage for too long afterwards -- whether in a clever, tap-oriented arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," riding in a Gray Line double-decker bus in the enchanting "New York at Christmas" sequence, kicking up a storm as three shelves full of raffish rag dolls in the inventive "Santa's Workshop," or displaying almost military precision in the brilliant "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," a mainstay of the show for many years.
As a special treat for the show's "diamond anniversary," there's a short film on the history of the troupe -- narrated by another local wonder, Tony Bennett -- which is followed by a beautiful number with the women decked out in sparkly, silvery costumes that truly epitomizes the glamour that is Radio City.
The Rockettes aside, this extravaganza is also chock-a-block with singers, dancers, and even ice skaters, all of whom cavort on gorgeously-colored sets (by Patrick Fahey) and wearing eye-popping costumes (by Frank Krenz). Last year's big innovation, a state-of-the-art L.E.D. screen on stage that projects fantastic images -- from larger-than-life ornaments to twinkling Christmas trees -- remains awe-inspiring (especially the remarkable 3-D ride with Santa as he and the reindeer come into New York City).
But technology isn't everything. Kudos must also go to Charles Edward Hall, who is a truly jovial Santa, the many fine dancers in the charming "Nutcracker" sequence, and the many, many Santas on stage for the smile-inducing "Here Comes Santa Claus" number -- which makes superb use of that L.E.D. screen.
Habermann has also breathed new life into "The Living Nativity," the re-telling of Jesus Christ's birth, that is now the Spectacular's penultimate number. It's now full of beautiful pageantry -- including those famed live camel and sheep -- but doesn't feel too somber or so religious that it may offend non-Christians.