Vaudeville Review: The Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectacular

I saw the Rockettes’ 85th anniversary show on November 17th. As a Christmas/NYC buff, I was dually excited. Here’s my take:

More Rockettes and less tacky crap.

The Rockettes, of course, crush it. Unfortunately, they are squelched by crass appeals to the American Idol crowd.

The mom-daughter storyline with which we are expected to sympathize is a textbook example of what Christmas is not supposed to be: Daughter’s Christmas will be devoid of meaning or joy unless she gets just the toy that all of the other middle class kids are getting.

There’s a mid-show 3D film bit about how Santa’s workshop is taken over by some negative-minded creature and the mom-daughter team need to defeat them in a video game using Santa’s only “weapon,” Christmas cheer. The rest of the world is militarized enough; we don’t need to hear it from Santa. Meanwhile, the Rockettes, replete in hideous green outfits, are dancing below the screen where we pay them no mind because we can’t watch them and the pretty 3D graphics simultaneously.

There’s also a live review of the Rockette wardrobes from every decade since the 1930s, which got me to thinking that there must have been a lot more reliance on dancing and other human talent in the decades before 3D animation.

The Santa dancing bit is also tacky, and a bit creepy.

The living nativity is gorgeous. I suppose it’s good for the producers that baby Jesus is too young (Qur’anic nativity notwithstanding) in this scene to tell us what he thinks about consumerism and war at the North Pole.

The NYC stuff is cool. I was hoping they’d continue east on 59th and show the Apple store, but no dice…

If you check out the show on Ticketmaster, you’ll read a lot of five star reviews from tourists who I suspect are just thrilled to be in New York. Alas, I can, in good conscience, only give the show 3/5 stars. It should still be seen on account of its being an 85-year old NYC landmark, but on merit I was left unsatisfied.

If you’d like to read more reviews like this one, then please buy me tickets to Book of Mormon.


  1. Behold! I’m commenting via facebook login! And yes, I liked this post.

  2. Sweet on both accounts.

  3. Nice review. I’m happy to report that I counted 13 passes AND saw the gorilla.

  4. Them’s skillz…

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