After 85 Years RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR Remians A High Kicking Joy
It has been four years since the Rockettes have visited with Windy City with their Radio City Christmas Spectacular and within that time, much has changed. The newly revamped show truly lives up to its vernacular as it is a spectacle for the eyes and ears. The touring production, which for many years also stopped at the Shubert downtown is nicely nestled into the vast Akoo Theatre in Rosemont for a two week run and in many ways, remains the quintessential holiday show.
At a fast paced two hours (one intermission), the 85th anniversary production ditches a few of the staples of “spectaculars” past such as the on-stage ice skating rink and replaces them with stories of more holiday substance including the notions of belief and faith, which was quite fitting after the tragedy that occurred this week in our nation’s history.
The able cast of 55 (which includes 22 Rockettes) are magnificent in every sense of the word. Most of the singing is done live (with some choral back up tracks) and the scenery, including a 7 ton double decker bus, would make even Cameron Macintosh jealous. The major focus is now on two boys, one who believes in Saint Nick and other who doubts. Through L.E.D. screens, flying sequences, a lot of saccharine and good old fashioned high kicks, Santa works his magic and the doubting boy succumbs to holiday spirit. To heighten this, there is a breathtaking Living Nativity that is stunning to watch and nourishing for the soul, no matter what your faith.
With all the posh spectacle, perhaps the greatest highlight and one with the most meaning is the video history of the Rockettes. Narrated by Tony Bennett, this nicely produced vinette chronicles the highs and lows of what has become a New York City staple since their St. Louis founding in 1925 as the “Missouri Rockets”, then the move to New York as the “Roxyettes”, named as they performed at the Roxy Theatre before the same owner opened Radio City. Their history is as rich as the city itself and being a New Yorker, it is hard to imagine the city without them.
There are very few productions that have retained their quality and integrity as long as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has. It never disappoints and also remains true to the reason it was created in the first place. To bring joy. To that extent the Christmas Spectacular has risen.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular runs through December 30, 2012 at the Akoo Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL. For tickets and showtimes visit www.ticketmaster.com or call the box office at 800-745-3000. For calendar information visit www.theatreinchicago.com
Please note that Cafe La Cave restaurant is offering 20% off to Radio City Christmas Spectacular patrons. Simply bring in your ticket receipt or Playbill to receive the discount. Cafe La Cave is located at 2777 Mannheim Rd., Des Plaines. Please visit www.cafelacaverestaurant.com or call (847) 827-7818