After almost two years in NYC we finally visited one of the must-see tourist attractions – The Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Admittedly, the show is aimed at young children, but since we’re so darn young at heart, we (read I) felt pretty confident we’d enjoy it.
The show first ran in 1933 as a short song and dance between movie screenings, and featured only the “parade of the wooden soldiers” and the “living nativity”. These are still two of the favourite acts, but they are now just a small part of the 1.5 hour programme.
Things we liked about the show:
- This Santa has the best looking crew of reindeer ever: thirty high-kicking rockettes sporting cute little antlers
- Watching the little kids around us jumping up and down and dancing, and one nervous little boy who kept asking his Dad, “Is it already over?” between scenes
- Seeing the Music Hall’s famous stage – with 10 separate substages that can be raised, lowered, and moved backwards and forwards over each other – in action. The band kept appearing and disappearing in this fashion
- The efforts that had been made to keep it current, such as Santa receiving messages on his Blackberry
- The parade of the wooden soldiers, which is like a precision car show, except with girls dressed as soldiers moving in perfect formation
- The 3D animation of Santa in flight, which was great after we realized that there were a pair of 3D glasses in our programmes
- The surprise of seeing an ice-skating rink rise up out of the stage with two figure skaters performing on it
- The inclusion of the living Nativity, and the retention of the name “Christmas” in the title of the show, in a country that has almost wiped the word out (replacing it with “Holidays”)
- The New York-centric plot and sets
- The visual spectacle of it all – so big, bright, colourful that it really does get you exited about Christmas
I’d give the show a 9/10. The transition from Santa into Christ was a bit jolting (like two separate shows stitched together) but other than that it had me clapping and cheering like a six-year-old. If you like all things Broadway, Christmassy or nostalgic, this is the show for you.