Wednesday, December 5, 2012 , Updated 11:41 a.m., December 5, 2012
Video: Still kickin’, glitzy Rockettes shine in front of state-of-the-art animation
The team that designed the LED screen deserves a raise.
GRAND PRAIRIE In Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, the LED screen behind the kicking, tap-dancing performers was the true spectacle. The giant backdrop took audience members from the North Pole to New York, as if we were inside a snow globe.
That’s not to say the Rockettes were forgettable at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie; they were precise as ever, splashing grace on top of militaristic kicks and salutes perfectly placed. The Rockettes were the same: younger versions of the decades-old dance team. Addie Elsbecker from Richardson was one of the 18 Rockettes in the Grand Prairie show.
Santa (played by Brent Bateman) dashed from the scene so the Rockettes' take on “The Nutcracker” could begin. The Sugar Plum Fairy was played by a giant teddy bear mascot, fluttering in a teeny, hot-pink tutu with a diamond rhinestone for a belly button. Kids giggled when the Sugar Plum Fairy batted her eyelashes, hogging the spotlight.
The dancers then nabbed the spotlight during “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” a seemingly simple dance where the 18 ladies marched in teeny steps in unison as if they were made of wood. Wearing black hats with white feathers on top, the plumes a’bobbed as the dancers shuffled their feet perfectly, ending in a heap.
The LED screen was eye-candy of the evening, not the leggy Rockettes, in “New York at Christmas.” The ladies climbed aboard a life-size double-decker bus, posing and throwing up jazz hands while the screen whizzed through Times Square and Central Park. The dancers were but a prop for the video that made us feel like we were in the driver’s seat.
The story took an abrupt turn in Act II with a pilgrimage toward the manger in “The Living Nativity.” The slow, solemn scene – sans live animals this year – was appropriately reverent for just a few moments until the sparkly Rockettes reappeared, ending with “Joy to the World.”
The ride was a little rocky – from the North Pole to Bethlehem to a Vegas-style ending – but the moments in between were dazzling. Santa told the crowd "it wouldn't be Christmas" without the Rockettes, and Santa, dear, is right.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes runs through December 8 at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie.
Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the show:
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