Sunday, December 15, 2002

Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Playhouse Square Center)

Rockets high-kick in Christmas spectacular at Playhouse Square

How can anyone give a “bah-humbug” to a production with dancing teddy bears, parading wooden soldiers, performing Snowmen, flying reindeer, elves doing rap, singing poinsettias, dancing toys, a singing Santa Claus, falling snow, camels, sheep, a donkey and a preteen ballerina? And, to top it all off, the entire presentation is built around the high-kicking precision of the Radio City Rockettes. You’d have to be a total Scrooge to even suggest that there would be anything but smiles on the faces of the children of all ages who are flocking to Playhouse Square to see the 'RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR.'

The show which features such memorable segments as "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and "The Living Nativity," has added a wonderful visual song and dance sequence "Christmas in New York." These, along with “We Need a Little Christmas” (from the musical MAME), “Santa’s Gonna Rock And Roll” (a tribute to Cleveland’s Rock Hall of Fame), a wonderful new tap number, “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” and “A Teddy Bear’s Dream (a ballet version of “The Nutcracker” featuring bigger than life teddy bears in tutus), lead to cheers of joy. It continues to be a professional, enthusiastically presented spectacular that is hard to resist.

Realizing that not everyone can get to New York to see the show, in 1994 'THE RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR' broadened its schedule to encompass other markets. Since then over two million people a year have experienced the excitement. Besides coming to Cleveland, troupes are performing in Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Branson(MO), Atlanta, and The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. That’s a lot of kicking and dancing!

The cast includes 22 rockettes, 14 singers and dancers, 4 little people, Santa and Mrs. Claus. More than 200 colorful costumes and 150 hats are used. Each outfit is designed specifically for the show. Nineteen teddy bears appear. Each bear is from a different part of the world and each costume weighs between 30 and 60 pounds. Two camels, 4 sheep and a 1 donkey appear in the nativity scene. It took over thirteen trailer trucks to deliver all the elements of the show to Cleveland.

Capsule judgement: The rockets show is quite a Christmas spectacular!