The 2012 Radio City Christmas Spectacular

This annual holiday extravaganza brilliantly celebrates the Rockettes’ 85th anniversary.

The Rockettes in <I>The 2012 Radio City Christmas Spectacular</i>
The Rockettes in The 2012 Radio City Christmas Spectacular
© Gene Schiavone

We should all look as good at 85 as the Rockettes! Obviously, none of the comely, leggy lasses on stage at Radio City Music Hall for the 2012 Radio City Christmas Spectacular is close to being an octogenarian, but they could ask for no better celebration of their singular talents and vaunted history than this one-of-a-kind holiday show.

Director and choreographer Linda Haberman, who has been tweaking and revising this extravaganza over the past six years, continues to provide audiences of all ages with a level of rarely-seen glamour and innovation, including everything from dazzling images projected on to a state-of-the-art L.E.D. screen to toe-tapping musical numbers by the Rockettes.

But these lovely ladies get to show off not only their gorgeous gams, but also their exquisite costumes from yesterday to today. This year, Haberman added a brief retrospective sequence detailing the history of the group’s many eye-catching outfits (including one particular disco-inspired stunner from the gifted Bob Mackie).

Still, the most exciting part of the show is when the Rockettes’ particular kick-line skills come to the fore, which they do in the very first number, the smile-inducing “Sleigh Ride.” And for most of the show’s 90 minutes, the remarkable dancers get to display their unparalleled gifts time and again in routines ranging from the clever, tap-oriented arrangement of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” through the brilliant “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” in which they display almost military precision.

Indeed, whether emerging from a Gray Line double-decker bus in the enchanting “New York at Christmas” sequence (complete with a pair of dazzling ice skaters) or almost literally lighting up the stage in the figuratively brilliant “Let Christmas Shine,” the Rockettes are continually worthy of applause.

The ladies even play a pivotal role in the show’s newest sequence (created last year), an elaborate 3-D video game created by Santa to give harried mom Tracy and daughter Kayla some “quality time.” It’s likely to delight the young ones in the audience, although the segment – preceded by the catchy song “Closer Than We Knew” — goes on a bit too long.

While the Rockettes are the show’s star attraction, they do get to take a break during the perennially charming “Nutcracker” sequence, chock-full of those adorable dancing bears, and the fun “Here Comes Santa Claus” number, in which dozens of St. Nicks suddenly appear on the stage.

As delicious as most of the Spectacular is, the show’s grand finale is truly divine: “The Living Nativity,” a brief re-telling of Jesus Christ’s birth, is full of beautiful pageantry, live camel and sheep, and inspiring music – all of which reminds audiences of what the holiday season is truly about.

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