It’s that time of year again. Hot summer days turn to cool autumn nights; the leaves change colors and begin to fall. Soon the trees will be bare, waiting for the impending snow. Another tell-tale sign that winter is on its way is the preparation for the seasonal favorite, “Radio City Christmas Spectacular.” Tickets are on sale now for the hit holiday show and New York City staple. This year, the Radio City Rockettes will be celebrating 85 years of their heartwarming holiday tale. The “Christmas Spectacular” opens on November 9 and will run through December 30 at the Radio City Music Hall.
The Rockettes are thrilled to be celebrating such an exciting anniversary. In an interview with Broadway.com during a summer preview of the 2012 “Christmas Spectacular,” Rockette Jacey Lambros described why she believes the show is such a success. “I think it has endured for 85 years because they’re consistently evolving. Every year we add new show elements and new technique, and we sort of spice it up each year to bring it to modern times.”
Despite the changes and modernization, part of the show’s appeal is that it highlights beloved holiday hits. Synthia Link, another Rockette, loves that the story is “able to commit to the old favorites.” The show features the nativity scene, parade of the wooden soldiers, a brief tribute to the Nutcracker, and more.
In preparation for the annual production, the Rockettes spend six weeks rehearsing for the show’s November opening. Eighty dancers spend seven hours a day, six days a week in intense rehearsals. The Rockettes rehearse at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City with their director and choreographer, Linda Haberman. Haberman is no stranger to the NYC stage, having been seen on Broadway in “Dancin'” (1978), “Can-Can” (1981) and “La Cage aux Folles” (1983). She also spent time behind the scenes, choreographing “Birds of Paradise” off-Broadway in 1987, and assistant choreographing “Guys and Dolls” (1992) and “Big Deal” (1986) on Broadway.
The “Christmas Spectacular” is a fun and exciting holiday tradition for many. Since its debut, the show has won the hearts of New Yorkers and audience members from all over the world. As some of the performers described, the show is full of holiday spirit, intensity, and magic. This holiday show appeals to children and adults alike – for anyone who loves Christmas and revels in holiday spirit.
“It really is a marathon,” said Elaine Winslow-Redmond, head athletic trainer and nutritionist, and former Rockette. It is important for the dancers to maintain a healthy diet while performing. The girls can put on up to five shows a day throughout the holiday season. The show has changed a great deal over the years, according to Winslow-Redmond. “The Rockettes are on stage more than they used to be, and their routines are far more physically demanding.” The hours and days and weeks of preparation are necessary to put together the 90-minute show full of jaw-dropping high kicks and intense jazz and tap combinations.
Tickets for the 85th anniversary presentation of the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” are available and on sale now. For those who are unable to make it to New York City for the holidays, the “Christmas Spectacular” is going on tour, visiting cities such as Nashville, St. Louis, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Chicago.