New York City’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular Reviewed

Title: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Year: 2012

Director: Linda Haberman

Stars: The Rockettes, Santa, Three Camels, One Donkey

Location of Show: Radio City Music Hall, Midtown, New York, New York

Summary of Show:

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well, or so Radio City would have us believe, during the 3-D Christmas spectacular, an hour-and-a-half show filled with 14 acts that celebrate the spirit of Christmas and the 85th anniversary of the Rockettes, Radio City’s iconic kick-line dancers.

While the show is live, various production numbers incorporate 3-D movie imagery.

Show Review:

Christmas-time is always a special time of year in New York. A gigantic tree is lit for all to see. Shops try to outdo each other with their window dressings. And Radio City puts on their annual Christmas production.

My wife and two daughters, ages three and four, wanted to see the show. And I was more than happy to join.

Unfortunately, the spectacular was far from spectacular.

The production numbers were workman-like but lacked soul. This caused the show to drag. And Acts 7 through 13 could have easily been left out entirely.

My three-year-old was bored early on – asking every five minutes when we could go home.

Also, the attempt to inject some relevance into the production by inserting 3-D movie elements seriously misfired. The 3-D glasses were cheap and flimsy and served as more of a distraction.

Also, I’m not saying I’m blaming the Nativity Scene for causing a black and blue mark, but it did cost me a punch in the arm. I just happened to point to the donkey on stage and told my 4-year-old daughter to check out the “cute ass.” This elicited, from my exasperated wife, a haymaker to my upper arm and a whispered verbal warning: “We are surrounded by a bunch of kids and stop with the fucking cursing.”

Not all was bad, however. A couple of numbers, including a nod to the Nutcracker, were excellent.

And my daughters liked the popcorn (8 bucks for the Rockettes’ souvenir bucket with the lighted handle). I can’t vouch for the popcorn but the flashing lights on the handle were pretty cool.

Do I recommend the show? Only if you really want to experience a New York tradition and have upwards of 50 bucks to spend. Otherwise hold out for your kids’ Christmas pageant. Yes the production values may not be as great, and the Rockettes will not be present, but at least it will have soul.

Overall rating (1 to 5 Whistles, 1 lowest to 5 highest): 2 Whistles

Question I’m left with: Where do you store three live camels and one cute ass in the middle of Manhattan?

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Stock photo courtesy of DanielW /