Monday, December 8, 2008

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been a tradition with my mom and I since it first came to Chicago over 12 years ago.

My mom, grandma and I went for years.  When my niece was 2, we started taking her.  

My sister joined the group to see my niece’s face.  When my nephew was 1, my step-dad had emergency gall-bladder surgery, so my mom couldn’t go.  We took my nephew instead and he loved it too.

This year, with the economy, we couldn’t afford it.  Everyone is cutting back, so something like seeing the Rockettes is not as high on the list of financial priorities.

Everyone was sad that we couldn’t go.

Last week, my cousin got 2 free tickets from work and gave them to my mom.  She and I went Saturday night.  Sunday was there last show here for the season. 

I find it odd that they end their run so early now.  It used to go until after Christmas, so we would usually go the week of Christmas.  Last year it ended the first weekend in December.  Thankfully, this year that weekend was later than last year.  It just seems odd to end it so early.

I was very excited to get to go since we were not expecting it.  The seats were not what we would have normally had, but they were free.  It was the very last row on the main floor.  Good news was there was nobody behind us to kick our seats and we were in the center of the aisle so nobody was in front of us either.  In fact, it wasn’t a full theatre.  They’ve been running so many specials that I expected it to not be full.  They are feeling the hit from this economy and were doing what everyone else is doing, slashing prices and offering deals.

It was a different perspective.  Where we normally sit we can see faces and focus on only a few dancers at a time, with these seats, it was sort of a panoramic view.  We could see all 18 Rockettes at once.  It made their precision even more awing.  It also allowed us to see the 2 errors one dancer made, but that’s beside the point.

They make some changes to the show every year, some small, some bigger.  Over the years, they have taken out some performances I prefer over some of the newer ones.  For example, I do not like the 12 Days of Christmas.  I can’t stand the song, so the performance they added last year is annoying to me. 

Christmas in New York is one of my favorites, but they altered that over the years too.  In the beginning, there was a small “pond” with 2 ice skaters spinning about on stage.  They took that part out a few years ago and added snow.  It “snows” in the audience too. 
My favorite, though, is The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.  I love it.  It amazes me every year.  It’s my mom’s favorite too.

The addition of Santa as narrator was a good addition; however, it has become the entire show.  A year or 2 ago, they added Mrs. Claus.  They have made her an annoying “Lucy” like character.  Lots of whining. 

The best, though, is the Living Nativity.  It is visibly beautiful with the colors and details of the costumes, but it is also simply beautiful.  The telling of the story, the music and the set combined make it breathtaking.

Most kids get antsy during this part because it is quiet and solemn compared to all the dancing and singing prior.  The sheep, donkey and camels walking across the stage often help.  My sister’s kids love this part. 

In the future, I would not buy those seats, it’s not worth the money; since they were free, they were pretty good!

Saturday was a really bad day for me and seeing the show that night completely made up for it.  It was cold, but we didn’t care.  My mom and I stopped at Baker’s Square and bought a pie, came home and made Decaf. 

The Rockettes always marks the start of Christmas for us.  This year, it made it feel like Christmas too.

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