Radio City Music Hall Rockettes star in New York Spectacular
The New York Spectacular, starring the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, is review-proof. The 90-miniute show’s sole purpose is attracting tourists to the Art Deco palace and seeing its long-legged star attraction. Despite aggressive marketing, the live-action travelogue has more thought behind it than concessions – after all, they are The Rockettes.
The intermission-less show’s script by Douglas Carter Beane follows a Midwestern family visiting NYC. Mom (Kacie Sheik) and Dad (Euan Morton) have city ties, but this is the first visit for their kids Emily (Jenna Ortega) and Jacob (Vincent Crocilla). The two are separated from their parents on a crowded subway platform; with the help of talking statues, including Grand Central’s Mercury, Wall Street’s Bull, Central Park’s Alice in Wonderland, and the NY Public Library’s rapping duo of literary lions Patience and Fortitude, Emily and Jacob look for them at the landmarks on the day’s itinerary. It is a clever device utilizing Radio City’s large stage, rising platforms for the orchestra and scenery and/or performers, as well as its legendary precision dance troupe.
Director/choreographer Mia Michaels weaves The Rockettes easily into the scenario, honoring and adding to their legacy, which includes singing. They are the city’s “heartbeat” in the Welcome to New York opening number: Egyptian priestesses emerging from a sarcophagus at the Met Museum, gold diggers costumed similarly to their Busby Berkley ancestresses personifying that Money Makes the World Go Around on Wall Street, and Singin’ in the Rain with real raindrops in Central Park. Michaels also shows them off in a charming fashion show where each Rockettee struts her stuff in her own outfit, proving that dancers do haute couture better than starlets, socialites, and trophy wives.
New York Spectacular’s score combines standards about the city (Give My Regards to Broadway, Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind) and original songs by AnneMarie Milazzo and Billy Jay Stein. All of the music is live, with the exception of the finale: Frank Sinatra’s recording of New York, New York when The Rockettes do their kick line. It is a wonderful image.
The New York Spectacular does its job making tourists want to see all the places mentioned in the show. It has local appeal, too, as an opportunity to go inside Radio City and have fun – because The Rockettes are great!
The New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes is on at Radio City Music Hall from July 22nd through August 7th, for further information or to book visit here.