A centerpiece of the holiday season, the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall continues to offer quality family entertainment: Just listening to Christmas carols boom from the Hall’s mighty Wurlitzer organ is enough to put one in the spirit of the season. But the annual show takes it up a notch from there, enveloping the audience in nine scenes of joyous singing and dancing built around a Christmas-in-New York theme.
Basically unchanged from last year’s presentation, the 90-minute show remains a crowd pleaser, judging from the younger audience members’ shrieks of glee (quite amazing in this age of Nintendo). The kids’ favorites: “The Nutcracker” tribute, featuring dancing teddy bears, and scenes involving Santa Claus, jubilantly played by Charles Edward Hall.
But the Spectacular has some treats for the grown-ups as well — namely, the high-kicking precision of the Rockettes. Well-choreographed are “Christmas in New York,” a number in which the dancers are decked out in glittering red Santa suits, and the now-famous marching routine “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.”
“The Living Nativity,” which has been performed every year at the Music Hall since 1933, continues to inspire. The closer makes full use of the great stage, with Mary and Joseph, the three Wise Men and their entourages — and enough live animals to fill a barnyard.