The Citiblog

Review: The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is Just Spectacular
November 22, 2022, 6:23.40 pm ET


Photos: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Living up to its name in every way imaginable, the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes” provides some of the most dazzling and smile-inducing entertainment to be found anywhere in the Tri-State area, guaranteeing to delight viewers both young old for a breathtaking 90-minute journey.

As would be expect of the 2022 edition of this decades-long enterprise, 21st-century technology has been put to incredibly clever use, including a giant state-of-the-art L.E.D. screen on stage that takes us along on Santa’s ride to Radio City, complete with extraordinary 3-D imagery. There are also unbelievably vivid projections, which are used to create backdrops for many of the show’s musical numbers, as well as creating winter scenes and snowflakes that cover the vast hall’s walls and ceiling.

But those computer-generated bells and whistles aside, the real secret to the enduring success of this one-of-a-kind show are the humans involved, most especially those dazzlingly leggy dancers known as the Radio City Rockettes, who are the number one reason to take in the show.

From their very first number, the smile-inducing "Sleighride," these dazzling artists show off their singular talents in number after number, from a clever, tap-oriented arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas” to the enchanting "New York at Christmas" sequence (complete with a pair of dazzling ice skaters) to a new number, “Dance of the Frost Fairies,” which features drones that fly into audience while the Rockettes work their magic onstage. And yes, they show off their famed “kickline” over and over, but it somehow never gets tiresome.

Even more astonishing is the military precision these ladies bring to the brilliantly timeless "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” which was first introduced in 1933. Kids will go crazy over their joyous (if seemingly exhausting) portrayal of a slew of happily unleashed rag dolls in the delightful “Outside the Box. And you won’t even recognize them in the slightly manic "Here Comes Santa Claus" number, which features the ladies disguised as dozens of real-life St Nicks.

And no matter how many times I’ve watched it, it's almost impossible for me not to feel like a giddy five-year-old during the charming "Clara’s Dream” sequence, set to that gorgeous music from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” I just love all those dancing bears!

While the Rockettes are the show's star attraction, they’re not the only reason for attending the show, which smartly utilizes, more than ever before, the talents of dozens of musicians, dancers, actors who move with gusto and sing out a slew of holiday classics! (Mrs. Claus even gets to belt to the rafters in a brief version of the 1950 standard “The Man with the Bag.”)

And then there is the show's landmark sequence, "The Living Nativity,” which is a brief re-telling of Jesus Christ's birth that is full of ultra-colorful pageantry (including those famed live camel and sheep) and inspiring Christmas music. Even if you’re not religious (or Christianity is not your religion), you’ll still be inspired by this segment’s beauty.

So, whether you’re coming from 5,000 miles away or from five blocks, “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular” is worth the trip. In fact, it doesn’t feel like the holiday season without it.