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Radio City Christmas Spectacular 2006

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 12, 2006
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue Of The Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 247-4777
About the Author:


Radio City Christmas Spectacular 2006
Presented by North Fork Bank
Starring the Rockettes
At
Radio City Music Hall
www.RadioCity.com
Avenue of the Americas at West 51st Street
NYC, NY
Director and Choreographer: Linda Haberman
Choreography: John Dietrich and Robert Longbottom
President, MSG Entertainment: Jay Marciano
Executive Producer: John Bonnani
Production Designers: Michael Hotopp and Charles Lisanby
Director and Choreographer: Linda Haberman
Production Stage Manager: Kathy J. Hoovler
Production Manager: Courtney Rohler
Vocal Arrangements: David Chase and Grant Sturiale
Costume Designer: Frank Krenz
Additional Costume Design: Gregg Barnes
Sound Design: Dan Gerhard
Producer: Jill DeForte
Asst. Choreographers: Matt Clemons, Michelle Hammar,
Karen Keeler, and Tim Santos
LED Content Designer; Dirk Decloedt
Music Director: Mark Hummel
Original Lighting: Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz
Lighting Designer: David Agress
Scenic Designer: Dawn Robyn Petrilk
Additional Scenic Design: Bill Hoffman and Mark Solan
Conductors; Shawn Gough, Gary Adler,
Frank Zuback, and Howard Joines
(See A Review of Christmas Spectacular 2004).

Program:

Overture: Radio City Orchestra and a Classic Holiday Medley
Sleighride: Santa Claus and the Radio City Rockettes
Santa Arrives in New York: 3-D Animated Tour
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Santa Tap Dance
The Nutcracker: From the Tschaikovsky Ballet
The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers: The Rockettes Precision March
Here Comes Santa Claus: Santa on Christmas Eve
White Christmas in New York: New York Avenues and Ice Skaters
Santa's Workshop: Christmas Preparation with Rag Doll Rockettes
Welcome Christmas: Santa's Gift Preparation
The Living Nativity: Pageant of the First Christmas with Live Animals and Carols


Cast: Charles Edward Hall as Narrator and as Santa Claus; A Collection of actor/dancer/singers/athletes as Mrs. Claus, Clara, Skaters, and Elves (6).

The Rockettes: In 1925, the first Rockettes made their debut in St. Louis and were called by their creator, Russell Markert, "The Missouri Rockets". This 16 woman ensemble grew into a 36 member kick line. All across America, hundreds of women audition to be a Rockette, and, so far, over 3,000 women, with requisite skills in tap, jazz, and ballet have joined these ranks. New to the Rockette world are two new education programs, called The Rockette Experience and The Rockette Summer Intensive. A Dancer, age 10 or older, may take a Radio City Stage Door Tour with a Rockette, followed by a three-hour Rockette Repertoire Workshop in The Rockette Experience. In the Summer Intensive, hosted in NY, CA, PA, and TX, dance students intensively study with Rockettes and their Choreographer and also have a performance opportunity. (Program Notes).

Radio City is a cavernous art deco theatre, restored recently, top to bottom, just as it was at its opening in 1932. The enormous ceilings, brass entrances and ornamentations, great stage, video-film effects, giant mirrors for multiple Santa dances, outsized sound system, the walkways for characters and Rockettes to enter from rear orchestra to the stage, the live animals for The Living Nativity, such as donkeys and camels, and the actual ice skating rink that rises and lowers below the orchestra are all magical elements that help to create an afternoon that one immediately wants to repeat year after year. I attended the 11:00 AM! Matinee with my three year-old niece and her mother. This was a perfect time to see this show, as some of the rows were empty, and sight lines were excellent. This show runs non-stop, day and night, throughout the Holiday Season; as one audience files out, the next one files in.

For some reason, the production always runs short of 3-D glasses, but that, by far, is the only glitch, not counting this year's absence of the Wurlitzer organs, unless they appeared while the audience was trying to squeeze through the aisles. It should be said, up front, that my three year-old niece was totally riveted, from the moment of the first orchestral note. She had prepared with the Christmas Spectacular program, so the first sighting of the Rockettes was an exciting phenomenon. Those Rockettes were splendid, as always, kicking, dancing, and marching in unison. There were Santa Rockettes, Rag Doll Rockettes, Soldier Rockettes, Reindeer Rockettes, Tapping Rockettes, Window Model Rockettes, and a few other costume/music themes, as well. Plus, the Radio City ice skaters, who could literally compete in any ice show, were again the ornaments of the New York City Holiday street scenes. The elves (called Mr. Spruce, Tinker, Skittle, Hoofer, Nifty, and Tick Tock) remain some of the most talented actors/acrobats seen on today's Broadway stages.

Charles Edward Hall, both Narrator and Santa Claus, is the quintessential host, and I honestly do not know how he manages to perform, high-energy, in show after show. There are two lists of Mrs. Claus, Clara, and skating partners, so one does not know the actual performers, but suffice it to say they were at the peak of form. Mrs. Claus acts, sings, dances, and Clara is a true ballerina, who performs excerpts of The Nutcracker, dancing with giant bears in tutus, as children's stuffed animal characters appear in life-size form. The Skaters dance with lifts, spins, swinging by arms, and rapid ornamentations, on the smallest ice rink that rises and lowers, like the orchestra. In fact, the orchestra, led by Mark Hummel, is signature Broadway, rousing and rollicking, never missing a beat. In The Living Nativity, a constant filing of camels, donkeys, sheep, and actors in biblically inspired costumes, re-enact "the first Christmas" in striking silence, a considerable contrast to the swinging, leggy Rockettes.

Without doubt, it is these Rockettes, especially showcased in the new hit number, The Twelve Days of Christmas, a seven-minute tap dance in new, stiff costumes, bedecked with metallic silver, red stripes, gold trim, and a Christmas corsage, who steal and magnetize this historical show. Their split-timed, chorus line-styled dance is entertainment for all ages and all audiences. Even though these dancers have just two and one-half weeks to rehearse, they are personality- (and perfection) -plus. This annual production is a year in the making, and all the effort shows, as scene after scene unfolds to the amazement and awe of its loyal fans. The new three year-old fan, who accompanied me, received a Rockette doll and extra Santa costume, in addition to her giant, fold-out program. Located in the heart of the Rockefeller Center Holiday festivities, Radio City was the perfect beginning to a New York Holiday tour.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


A Happy Rockette Fan

A Happy Rockette Fan

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


A Weary Rockette Fan

A Weary Rockette Fan

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

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