Saturday, November 19, 2011

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

For years, I've told myself that I will get up in the middle of the night to watch the Radio City workers take the Christmas show camel on his walk down Sixth Avenue. I have yet to actually do that. However, I did see this year's Christmas Spectacular on Wednesday. I saw no poorly behaved children, though I can't say the same about the adults. All these people, after they were explicitly asked not to, taking flash photos with their phones. All the way through the performance.
The dancing was wonderful. I haven't seen so much good tapping in a long time. They did a great opening number (Rockettes as reindeer), a mini-Nutcracker (a bear in a pink tutu was the Sugar Plum Fairy), the Parade of Wooden Soldiers. Even the Christmas in New York number was pretty bearable (though I was itching to see the camel by then, I did appreciate the Central Park skaters). But the largely 3D video game, involving a trip to Santa's workshop and teaching a young mother the true meaning of Christmas? That was painful. And long. Ad made me think I could've written it better.
Finally, we got to the Baby Jesus and the camel! A lot of walking across the stage with shepherds and genuine, live sheep. Even more walking across the stage with the Magi and their entourages (I'd never really thought about them having entourages on a par with Shakespearean kings, but these three did- so much so I couldn't tell the kings from the staff). And through it all the lone camel chewed his cud, and swished his tail once in awhile. Then we got to the big moment: the Magi gesture to Mary and Joseph (who are kneeling on a big mesa); Mary and Joseph gesture back (these look suspiciously like water ballet arm movements). My eye wanders to the manger- it appear to be empty. Then, to the camel: lip-smacking and cud-chewing away, despite the gravity of the moment.
There were plenty of empty seats on Wed., so you can visit the camel, too.

Link above to the New York Times review. Photo by Ruth Fremson for the NY Times.

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