Spectacular!Posted: December 23, 2008
>I’ve always liked using ‘spectacular’ as a noun. For the last few weeks, I’ve been inciting jealous fits in many of my peers, upon sharing (confessing? bragging?) that I’d be seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with my boyfriend and my favorite lesbians. I’ve been here almost 11 years and I’d never seen it — and upon hearing months ago that Laura & Amy were also itching to take part, I got us a chunk of second mezzanine tickets.
Radio City Music Hall is probably my favorite venue in the entire city — it’s just the most beautiful space, and it remains the largest indoor theater in the world. I learned last night that it was designed to look like a sunrise as seen from an ocean liner. How smart is that? Small details that make it unique: the ramped entrance, the oval lobby, the curtain–okay, not so small, as it’s also the largest in the world.
The show itself is….how can I explain that I never wanted it to end, and yet I needed it to stop. One huge number after another, Rockettes in costume after costume, the huge stage elevators, ice skating, an LED screen as wide and tall as a city block, fireworks, Flying by Foy, plushy bears doing bits from The Nutcracker, and (with help from that screen,) an infinite number of Santas dancing off into oblivion. Oh, and then there’s the whole sheep, camels, Christchild, procession scene — including the most lush blue curtain I’ve ever seen, like insanely beautiful draping. Then big finale where the song lyrics are projected onto the beaming gold walls of the theater and that part where the mylar ribbons explode into the space. There’s no time to rest, to catch your breath. Plus, there’s a 3D movie at the opening, with glasses tucked inside your program.
It’s not bad — it’s actually fantastic. But it’s garish, saccharine, and I guess in the end what makes it a little grating is the fact that every number essentially runs at the same speed. There’s only one level here, and it’s balls-out, breakneck. Theatrically, it sort of goes on an on, and then when it’s over, you want intermission and another 90 minutes. The whole thing is so baffling.
Here’s a couple of clips from the evening. The first is one of the Rockette’s opening numbers — there seemed to be a few different opening numbers, the first of which has them all dressed like S&M-ish reindeer, tethered by velvet rope to Santa’s sleigh. Then, the second clip is part of the Million Santas number, what you see coming down from above is a rack of handbells.