Spectacular holiday show kicks off season

Costume designer Emilio Sosa pose with Rockettes in the new costume for the 2018 Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Costume designer Emilio Sosa pose with Rockettes in the new costume for the 2018 Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Carl Scheffel/File

On opening night last week, audiences to the annual Christmas Spectacular were unanimous in their opinion that no place kicks off the season like the home of Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
That’s where adults and children beamed, the magical, mystical showcase of blue-lit butterflies/drones flittering and dancing overhead the audience, gasped the glory of the Nativity scene, marveled the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, ogled the return of Santa Claus and more than anything else cheered the eye-high kicks that brand the world-famed dancers.
They all agreed “It’s beginning to look like Christmas.”
From now until Jan. 2, 2023, audiences of all ages will concur that the holiday season has now begun and New York is where it’s at.
Featuring a brand new lyrical number “Dance of the Frost Fairies,” presents the Rockettes sparkling in sequins as “fantastical, winged fairies, performing alongside fairy-drones which dance high above the audience turning Radio City into a wintry wonderland.”
From the organ-playing start through 90-minutes of spectacle, an orchestra provides musical score to the tradition which began Dec. 21, 1933.
With 140 performers providing humor and joyous entertainment, the 2022 version expands the 87-year-old tourist attraction to nine scenes of continuous enlightening amazement, uninterrupted by an intermission to spotlight ‘New York At Christmas’ a travelogue past the Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Fifth Ave. and through Central Park where a treat awaits at the skating rink.
Audience favorites return the ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” “Dancing Bears,” “Rag Dolls,” the 3-D ride with Santa Claus and his reindeers along with the North Pole native revealing his ability to accomplish his global task using bells.
Most enchanting though is the “Nativity Scene.”
Fraught with pageantry, reverence and enchantment, it was no wonder children gasp aloud at seeing live animals parade through the production.
For many the sight of live camels, a donkey, wise men and colorful, Biblical characters might only come once.
And while it is well known that the three wise men travelled from the East to Bethlehem, the exact distance they journeyed to offer gold, frankincence and myrhh to the newborn king becomes crystal clear when Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar travels across the stage to retell travels from Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.
Last year’s season was abbreviated by an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among the cast.
A mask mandate along with ushers holding signs alerting no device usage, did not seem to deter sneaky shutterbugs from snapping keepsake photos.
Noticeably absent on opening night were Playbills which audience often rely to track number.
Numerous matinee performances are available to accommodate seniors, students and visitors to the city.

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