I have a confession to make. I have never seen the Rockettes or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show before. After seeing both for the first time on Friday at Verizon Center in Washington DC, I learned what I'd missed out on and am now determined to make it a yearly tradition.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular Arena Tour is fairly new, having debuted in 2008, but the show itself dates back to 1933. Two of the scenes from the original show are performed today: the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and "Living Nativity."
I, for one, was moved to tears by the latter and was happy to see a celebration of the true meaning of Christmas come to life before my eyes. I asked my 9-year-old daughter Natalie, who attended with me, what her favorite part of the show was and she said, "The way (The Rockettes) were able to do everything at the same time."
She was referring to their well-known precision, and she's right. From every little kick, to every little turn, their timing was perfect. But she was just as dazzled by the entire 90-minute performance as I was, waving at the dancing bears and laughing at the "boom" flag shot out of the cannon. At one point, Santa ran down the aisle in front of us and she practically jumped out of her seat.
The only thing better than the performance itself for me, was seeing her reaction as well as the children around me. Eyes were wide, jaws were open and there were tons of "oohs" and "ahhs" from the little ones in the crowd.
One fairly new number, "New York at Christmas," made me long for another visit to New York City. The scene features a tour bus with an LED screen backdrop that makes it appear as if the bus is driving through the city. It was so realistic that I just sat back and soaked it in as if I was there.
The special effects were even more dazzling than the backdrop, costumes and scenery. A few times during the show, huge explosions of "snow" are shot out over the crowd, and glitter falls from the ceiling to create a magical snowfall. Colored streamers were shot out at another point to the delight of the audience.
The show was helpful in answering one of the age-old questions children have about Santa: How can he be in more than one place at one time? So asks a boy by the name of Patrick, who doubts the existence of Santa, despite the faith of his younger brother Ben.
It is then that "Santa" tells Patrick that as things have gotten busier for him, he's had to find a way to be everywhere and does so through the use of magic. That brought us to a fabulous number with dancing Santa clones.
My little girl still believes so I know this number went a long way in putting any doubts she may have to rest. In fact, the entire show made our Christmas much more magical. Indeed...spectacular.
Many thanks to Verizon Center for making this review possible. For information on Verizon Center, including events and ticket information, click here.
For more information on Radio City's Christmas Spectacular, including tour dates and ticket information, click here.