Home / The Game / A review of the amazing Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes in New York

A review of the amazing Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes in New York

[ad_1]

What do you get if you cross one hundred drones, a legendary high-kicking New York dance troupe, 1,100 colourful costumes, a double-decker bus and real life camels, sheep and a donkey?

Now in its 85th anniversary, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is a show unlike any other.

In an age when theatres have to compete with video games, action movies featuring A-list stars, and a host of must-have gadgets, the Christmas Spectacular pulls off an incredible feat, managing somehow to appeal to today’s tech-savvy kids while not alienating their grandparents.

Now in its 85th anniversary, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is a show unlike any other

Now in its 85th anniversary, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is a show unlike any other

Now in its 85th anniversary, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is a show unlike any other

Kingston-Upon-Thames-born director Sam Buntrock has been brought in to the creative team with a brief to ensure that the Christmas Spectacular remains as relevant and exciting for today's kids as it was in the 1930s

Kingston-Upon-Thames-born director Sam Buntrock has been brought in to the creative team with a brief to ensure that the Christmas Spectacular remains as relevant and exciting for today's kids as it was in the 1930s

Kingston-Upon-Thames-born director Sam Buntrock has been brought in to the creative team with a brief to ensure that the Christmas Spectacular remains as relevant and exciting for today’s kids as it was in the 1930s

This picture was taken outside the Rockefeller Center after the live animals used in the show - a donkey, sheep and camels - were blessed by a priest

This picture was taken outside the Rockefeller Center after the live animals used in the show - a donkey, sheep and camels - were blessed by a priest

This picture was taken outside the Rockefeller Center after the live animals used in the show – a donkey, sheep and camels – were blessed by a priest

The show starts by taking the audience on a 3D sleigh-ride, skimming over the Manhattan skyline on the way to the North Pole. Animated trains loaded with toys and cheeky elves glide across the proscenium arches of the art deco-style Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center. The taps of the Rockettes’ shoes echo around the theatre thanks to tiny microphones embedded in their shoes, and dozens of dancing Santas onstage are joined by hundreds of cartoon St. Nicholases stretching as far as the eye can see on a massive LED screen backdrop, and across the ceiling, and walls in a truly immersive experience.

This year the Kingston-Upon-Thames-born director Sam Buntrock has been brought in to the creative team with a brief to ensure that the Christmas Spectacular remains as relevant and exciting for today’s kids as it was in the 1930s.

Judging by the reaction of the younger members of the audience, they’ve met their goal. ‘It feels like you are inside a video game,’ says Bram, aged eight. ‘There are animated figures all over the place, even on the ceiling. It’s like magic.’

A stage manager 'calls' the entire show through a sound system that is heard only throughout the backstage areas, so that the Rockettes know how much time they have to change and the handlers know when to escort the animals to the elevator. Of course, the audience doesn't hear a word

A stage manager 'calls' the entire show through a sound system that is heard only throughout the backstage areas, so that the Rockettes know how much time they have to change and the handlers know when to escort the animals to the elevator. Of course, the audience doesn't hear a word

A stage manager ‘calls’ the entire show through a sound system that is heard only throughout the backstage areas, so that the Rockettes know how much time they have to change and the handlers know when to escort the animals to the elevator. Of course, the audience doesn’t hear a word

The taps of the Rockettes' shoes echo around the theatre thanks to tiny microphones embedded in their shoes

The taps of the Rockettes' shoes echo around the theatre thanks to tiny microphones embedded in their shoes

The taps of the Rockettes’ shoes echo around the theatre thanks to tiny microphones embedded in their shoes

Each of the Rockettes changes costumes eight times during each show, typically with only a couple of minutes in between numbers. In one of the changeovers, they have 78 seconds to change their costumes

Each of the Rockettes changes costumes eight times during each show, typically with only a couple of minutes in between numbers. In one of the changeovers, they have 78 seconds to change their costumes

Each of the Rockettes changes costumes eight times during each show, typically with only a couple of minutes in between numbers. In one of the changeovers, they have 78 seconds to change their costumes

‘I’ve been brought onboard to be slightly mischievous and to push things in a more contemporary direction,’ says Buntrock, who studied acting at Bristol University before training as an assistant director at the Donmar Warehouse in London.

Buntrock’s background as a Tony and Olivier-nominated theatre, film and animation director meant he was ready to embrace everything technology had to offer. He freely admits that figuring out how to get the drones to do what he wanted when he wanted gave him many a sleepless night.

Describing the show’s new finale, Christmas Lights, which he conceived and directed, Buntrock says: ‘I don’t think there was an aspect to that scene that wasn’t challenging. Everything had to be synced — the drones, the animation, the dancers. When you see that scene it looks effortless and that’s something I’m very proud of.’

Two of the most cherished scenes in the Christmas Spectacular are Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (pictured) and Living Nativity – both of which have been part of Radio City's holiday tradition since they were first performed on the Great Stage in 1933. In the former the cast members fall over like dominoes after being hit by a cannonball

Two of the most cherished scenes in the Christmas Spectacular are Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (pictured) and Living Nativity – both of which have been part of Radio City's holiday tradition since they were first performed on the Great Stage in 1933. In the former the cast members fall over like dominoes after being hit by a cannonball

Two of the most cherished scenes in the Christmas Spectacular are Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (pictured) and Living Nativity – both of which have been part of Radio City’s holiday tradition since they were first performed on the Great Stage in 1933. In the former the cast members fall over like dominoes after being hit by a cannonball

The wardrobe department goes through more than 30,000 red dots per season to brighten the cheeks of the Rockettes during Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and Rag Dolls

The wardrobe department goes through more than 30,000 red dots per season to brighten the cheeks of the Rockettes during Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and Rag Dolls

The wardrobe department goes through more than 30,000 red dots per season to brighten the cheeks of the Rockettes during Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and Rag Dolls

There are two casts for the Christmas Spectacular and there are 40 Radio City Rockettes in each cast. Each cast performs in approximately 100 shows each season

There are two casts for the Christmas Spectacular and there are 40 Radio City Rockettes in each cast. Each cast performs in approximately 100 shows each season

There are two casts for the Christmas Spectacular and there are 40 Radio City Rockettes in each cast. Each cast performs in approximately 100 shows each season

Between the Radio City Rockettes, the ensemble and Santa Claus, more than 500 pairs of shoes are worn per show

Between the Radio City Rockettes, the ensemble and Santa Claus, more than 500 pairs of shoes are worn per show

Between the Radio City Rockettes, the ensemble and Santa Claus, more than 500 pairs of shoes are worn per show

For the kids standing outside Radio City after the show, it wasn’t just the gadgetry that had them hooked. Ten-year-old Ella’s favourite was the toy soldier scene – a feature since the show began back in 1933 – in which the dancers are toppled by a cannonball and very slowly fall backwards like dominoes, one on top of the other. ‘It was so cool. How do they do that?’ she says. Max, aged three, liked the nativity scene: ‘There were camels and sheep,’ he marvels. ‘I loved the costumes and how the dancers kept changing from one outfit to another in like half-a-minute,’ said Lucia, aged six.

Asked what accounts for the show’s longevity, Buntrock says: ‘It has an incredible sense of tradition, people bring their children and grandchildren. Though it’s changing, it hasn’t changed. It embraces new ideas but ultimately stays the same at heart – it’s the very definition of tradition.’

Performances of the 2018 Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes run through January 1, 2019, at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online at www.rockettes.com/christmas, Ticketmaster at 1-866-858-0007 or Radio City’s Box Office (1260 6th Avenue between 50th and 51st streets). Box Office hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

1 MILLION 3D GLASSES AND 78 SECONDS TO CHANGE COSTUMES: FUN ROCKETTES FACTS 

It takes more than 250 people to stage the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.

The cast of 150 includes the Radio City Rockettes, the ensemble, Santa Claus, ice skaters and aerialists.

There are two casts for the Christmas Spectacular and there are 40 Radio City Rockettes in each cast. Each cast performs in approximately 100 shows each season.

The production loads into Radio City Music Hall approximately four weeks prior to the show opening.

More than one million pairs of 3D glasses are distributed to patrons to experience the 3D scene featured in the production.

More than 1,100 colorful costumes are worn in the Christmas Spectacular.

Each of the Rockettes changes costumes eight times during each show, typically with only a couple of minutes in between numbers. In one of the changeovers, they have 78 seconds to change their costumes.

In the tap numbers Rag Dolls and The 12 Days of Christmas, the Rockettes tap shoes have embedded microphones, meaning all of the tap sounds you hear in the theater are live.

Two of the most cherished scenes in the Christmas Spectacular are Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and Living Nativity – both of which have been part of Radio City’s holiday tradition since they were first performed on the Great Stage in 1933.

The wardrobe department goes through more than 30,000 red dots per season to brighten the cheeks of the Rockettes during Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and Rag Dolls.

A stage manager ‘calls’ the entire show through a sound system that is heard only throughout the backstage areas, so that the Rockettes know how much time they have to change and the handlers know when to escort the animals to the elevator. Of course, the audience doesn’t hear a word.

180 baskets are used during each show to hold and carry the cast’s shoes, laundry and costumes.

Between the Radio City Rockettes, ensemble and Santa Claus, more than 500 pairs of shoes are worn per show.

350 loads of laundry are done per week. Laundry is running consistently for 16 hours per day during the week and 20 hours per day over the weekend.

All 34,000 square feet of the iconic walls and ceiling are covered by the most advanced 14K digital mapping technology available, creating a wholly immersive experience for fans from the first row to the third mezzanine. 

 

[ad_2]
Article Provided By

About admin

Check Also

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4) REVIEW

[ad_1] OUR LATEST VIDEOS No video game has ever made me physically perspire to the …

Gatwick drone cops blasted by Government for shambolic probe as police U-turn and admit there WAS a drone all along

[ad_1] THE government has slammed bungling cops over the Gatwick drone probe shambles after they …