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Radio City 75th Anniversary Christmas Spectacular 2008
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Radio City 75th Anniversary Christmas Spectacular 2008

- Onstage with the Dancers

Gray Line New York Sightseeing

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Radio City 75th Anniversary
Christmas Spectacular 2008

Presented by Capital One Bank
Starring the Rockettes
Radio City Music Hall
Avenue of the Americas at West 51st Street

Conceived, Directed, and Choreographed by Linda Haberman
Asst. Choreographers: Michelle Hammer,
Karen Keeler, Samantha Wilhelm
President, MSG Entertainment: Jay Marciano
Executive VP, Productions: Jonathan Hochwald
Senior VP, Productions: Larry Sedwick
VP, NY Productions: Jill DeForte
Production Stage Manager: Kathy J. Hoovler
Asst. Director, Matt Clemons
Production Manager: Courtney Rohler
Lighting Designer: David Agress
Scenic Designer: Patrick Fahey
Sound Design: Dan Gerhard
Conductor: Gary Adler
Costume Designer: Frank Krenz
LED Content Designer: Batwin & Robin Productions
Retrospective Film Director & Editor: B. Jeffrey Madoff
3-D Film Designer: Synthespian Studios
Projection Designer: Zachary Bovoray
Production Coordinator: Beth Stiegel-Zitzman
Orchestrators: Daniel Troob and Dave Pierce
Writer/Lyricist: Mark Waldrop
Musical Director, Composer, Arranger: Mark Hummel

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 15, 2008

(See A Review of Christmas Spectacular 2006).
(See a Backstage Tour of Radio City Music Hall with a Gray Line NY Sightseeing Guide).


Overture: Radio City Orchestra and a Classic Holiday Medley
Sleighride: Santa Claus and the Radio City Rockettes
Santa Flies to New York: 3-D Animated Tour
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Santa Tap Dance
The Nutcracker: From the Tschaikovsky Ballet
The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers: The Rockettes Precision March
New York at Christmas: The Rockettes on a Gray Line NY Double-decker Bus
Here Comes Santa Claus: Santa on Christmas Eve
The Magic Is There: Santa Helps with Last Minute Shopping
Christmas Memories: A Hand-Made Card of Traditions
Let Christmas Shine: A Message of Hope and Love
The Living Nativity: Pageant of the First Christmas, Live Animals, Carols
Joy To the World: Sing and Celebrate the Season

Cast: Charles Edward Hall as Narrator and as Santa Claus; A Collection of actor/dancer/singers/athletes as Clara, Patrick, Ben, Skaters, and Elves.

The Rockettes: In 1925, the first Rockettes made their debut in St. Louis and were called by their creator, Russell Markert, “The Missouri Rockets”. This 16 woman ensemble grew into a 36 member kick line. All across America, hundreds of women audition to be a Rockette, and, so far, over 3,000 women, with requisite skills in tap, jazz, and ballet have joined these ranks. New to the Rockette world are two new education programs, called The Rockette Experience and The Rockette Summer Intensive. A Dancer, age 10 or older, may take a Radio City Stage Door Tour with a Rockette, followed by a three-hour Rockette Repertoire Workshop in The Rockette Experience. In the Summer Intensive dance students intensively study with Rockettes and their Choreographer and also have a performance opportunity. (Rockette Website Notes).

What could be more festive, than dozens of Rockettes in white suits, then glittering brief costumes, kicking their legs out of a Gray Line NY Sightseeing Bus! For their 75th Anniversary Show, “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular” wowed their fans with several new performances and sets, one of which was a real Gray Line NY Sightseeing double-decker bus, with all of Manhattan whirling around, as it sped about town, showing the Rockettes the lights and sights of Christmas. Of course, the bus was really stationary, and the special effects made the film sequences circle about, but the kids did not know that, and, after all, this is a show for kids. The adults are there to watch the kids’ eyes and mouths open wide, as each sequence becomes more and more dazzling and delightful. I attended today’s early show with my five-year old niece, Camille, and her mother, and we loved it. (A tip, Pret a Manger Cafe on West 50th Street is nearby and child-friendly).

The Christmas Spectacular is without doubt one of the most professionally organized, efficiently and tightly timed events, with bravura music, dance, and entertainment galore, that is reliably produced, decade upon decade, with nary a glitch. The Wurlitzer organs appear and disappear, only to entertain the guests, who arrive on time. The Radio City Orchestra, conducted by Gary Adler, rises and falls, with exuberant orchestrations and scintillating seasonal music. The synchronization of the Rockettes’ dancing, especially in “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, is always riveting. First a faux cannon ball shoots the first Rockette Soldier, who falls backwards onto one, then another, then another, with the final line of Rockette dominoes landing on a big pillow. Then there’s the synchronization of the 3-D film, “Santa Flies to New York”, (with glasses attached this time to each program). Wrapped gifts fly through the air, seeming to catapult into the audience. And, silk streamers and snow fall from the rafters, in swiftly timed sequencing, as well.

Of course, we expect the tap-dancing, Rockette Santas to multiply like Mickey Mouse’s brooms (in Disney’s “Fantasia”), with more and more Santas appearing, thanks to the precision mirrors that create multiple illusions. And, teddy bear ballerinas emerge from presents in Clara’s abbreviated “Nutcracker” scene. Both Catherine Hurlin and Allie Parsons alternate as Clara, and whichever appeared today was en pointe and masterfully prepared. What a delight, this innocent, child’s excerpt of the Tchaikovsky ballet. Charles Edward Hall, Narrator and Santa Claus, deserves kudos at once, for his reliable and remarkable portrayal of Santa, with personality and passion-plus, so warm and welcoming. This year, he appeared with a non-believer, a teenager, whose younger brother urged him to believe in Santa. When they flew about, miracles and gifts abounded. Ice-Skaters appear, in a New York Holiday tableau, with dare-devil lifts, swirling and gliding on the small onstage rink.

Another spectacular surprise was the sight of the Swarovski crystal-bedecked Rockette costumes, of white-gold luminosity. Part of the show’s finale is always “The Living Nativity”, and the camels, donkeys, and sheep are as well-trained as the Rockettes, parading back and forth, with the “First Christmas” pageant unfolding in elegance. Yet, the memory that lingers is always that of the line of Rockettes, those long, muscular limbs, kicking and tapping in unison, as the young ladies sing and act, with energetic abandon, no breathlessness here. Everything about this experience is always momentous and magical, even Radio City and the gift shop décor, all decked out in wreaths and glittering lights. And, only a few steps away, the audience is led to Rockefeller Center, with its renowned Christmas tree and ice-skating, plus the Fifth Avenue shops, with seasonal Holiday windows. Yet, nothing can equal the memory of “Radio City’s 75th Anniversary Christmas Spectacular”. Kudos again to Charles Edward Hall, kudos to the Radio City Orchestra, kudos to the costume and set and film and technical designers, kudos to the choreographers and directors, kudos to the actors, singers, skaters, ballerina, and don’t forget the elves, and VERY special kudos to the Radio City Rockettes!

Camille at Pret a Manger
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

The Rockettes Board a Gray Line NY Sightseeing Bus
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

The Rockettes Board a Gray Line NY Sightseeing Bus
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

The Rockettes Board a Gray Line NY Sightseeing Bus
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

The Rockettes Board a Gray Line NY Sightseeing Bus
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Swarovski Showroom and Their Costume for the Rockettes
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at