Richard and I saw the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes on 11/28. I saw it with my friend Diane in 2007 and thought I would probably see it again someday - - the impetus this time was a visit from our friends Paul and Annie and their sons Anders (6) and Sebastian (4). We visited them in Sydney this January, it was such a treat to see them again, and to see the show through their eyes.
Just walking into Radio City Music Hall is an experience. I'm not talking about the twenty minute wait on the sidewalk, having my bag checked by two separate security guards, and being frisked and scanned by a third security guard - - the experience I'm talking about is the awe and wonder of the classic Art Deco design of the space. Dazzling, opulent, just plain gorgeous.
The show is a well-oiled product - - professionalism incarnate. One little burp, there was a moment at the end of the first number when the Rockettes were doing a kick line and the orchestra was a little behind in the tempo. Hello guys! It's THEM who set the tempo. You do not expect a kick line to conform to YOU. But that was just a slight burp, I might have been one of the only people who noticed it, and it was kind of humanizing.
My favorite number, then and now, was the number where the Rockettes are all dressed as Santa, and by the end of the number there was a video projection along the back wall of lines of Santas into infinity, thousands of Santas. I totally fell for that.
The final number, the Nativity, had been redesigned and restaged from the last time I saw it. The last time might have been the original production from 1933, it was musty and grand and had a aged/ageless storybook quality, full of charm. The version we saw this year was clearly a reboot - - still the shepherds and the camels and the sheep and the star and all that, but it was done in the most vibrant and intense Technicolor colors. The word screaming through my head was KITSCH! It was divine and holy kitsch, possibly the most extreme kitsch this side of Vegas.
The biggest thrill of the show was seeing the reactions of Anders and Sebbie, who were absolutely mesmerized. Here's a photo of the four of them across the F train platform (they're wearing our complimentary Santa hats, courtesy of Party City):