“Radio City Christmas Spectacular” Brings Christmas — and The Rockettes — to DPAC on Nov. 10-27

The world-famous Rockettes will add va-va-va-voom to the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular"
The world-famous Rockettes will add va-va-va-voom to the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular"

The world-famous Rockettes will add va-va-va-voom to the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular"
The world-famous Rockettes will add va-va-va-voom to the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular"

Durham Performing Arts Center will bring the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Rockettes, for a three-week run on Nov. 10-13, 15-20, and 22-27 in DPAC‘s brand-new, 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art theater, in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC.

According to the Durham Performing Arts Center:

“The Christmas Spectacular is exactly that … a spectacular. A cast and crew of nearly 100 people will visit Durham this season to deliver a holiday show experience like never before. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is sure to give audiences holiday memories to last a lifetime. Children of all ages will be enchanted by live holiday entertainment as teddy bears dance, wooden soldiers come to life, reindeer fly, Santa and his elves prepare for their biggest night of the year, and the Radio City Rockettes perform their fancy footwork and eye-high kicks. The New York Times [calls this show], ‘Brilliant! It lifts the spirit and spreads warmth, joy and good will!’

“‘We are really looking forward to our premiere engagement in Durham this holiday season,’ said Don Simpson, executive vice president of productions for MSG Entertainment (MSGE). ‘The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a beloved holiday tradition for millions of families across the country. We realize that not everyone can come to New York for Christmas, so we’re thrilled to bring Christmas to the Triangle.’

“Those who may have glowing memories of the famed New York production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be thrilled to see the energy and excitement of this holiday tradition as it comes to Durham. Famed dance numbers featured in this production include ‘The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’ and ‘The Living Nativity,’ both of which have been performed in The Christmas Spectacular since it debuted in 1933. In addition to the traditional favorites, the stage will come alive with newer scenes that will amaze audiences including ‘The 12 Days of Christmas,’ a sizzling Rockette tap number, and ‘Christmas in New York,’ a high-kicking Rockette number direct from the stage of New York City. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular offers audiences nonstop excitement from the first notes of the overture until the curtain falls.

“In 1994, due to popular demand, MSG Entertainment broadened the beloved holiday theatrical production’s schedule for the first time to encompass markets outside of New York, while running simultaneously with the New York production. Since then, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been performed in many cities across North America including Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Denver, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Seattle, Nashville, Phoenix, and many more.

“In 2010 alone, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular was enjoyed by more nearly two million people. In its 17-year combined history outside of New York, as well as the production at Radio City Music Hall, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has played to more than 70 million people.

“For more than three quarters of a century, the Radio City Rockettes have entertained millions of families with their eye-high kicks and unparalleled precision dance. The Rockettes are an American treasure and their performances feature unparalleled glamour and thrilling and complex choreography.

“The world’s most famous precision dance troupe has been a legendary force in entertainment, with a history rich in skill and dedication to their craft. The dance troupe first kicked to life in 1925 as the ‘Missouri Rockets,’ and made their show business debut in St. Louis, the realization of a long-time dream of their creator, Russell Markert.

“Since their inception, the Rockettes have strutted their way into the hearts of millions and have made the Radio City Christmas Spectacular a staple of holiday magic. The Radio City Rockettes perform with a signature precision that perpetually delights every new audience. Indeed, these ‘dancing daughters’ — as their founder, Russell Markert always referred to them — have not only persevered for more than 80 years, but are thriving now more than ever.”

According to the press kit for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular:

·         It takes a cast and crew of more than 100 people just to stage each performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The cast rehearses for three weeks before the first performance while the crew uses about the same amount of time to load in the scenery, set up and conduct technical rehearsals.

·         The cast of 55 includes 22 Rockettes (18 plus four swings), 14 singers and dancers, two children, four little people, and the one and only Santa Claus!

·         The double-decker bus seen in the brand-new scene ‘New York at Christmas’ weighs an astounding 7 tons and is 34-feet long, 12-feet high. In the course of the three-week run, it will travel approximately 14 miles onstage!

·         During [an] eight-week run, the animals drink 450 bottles of water and eat 340 bales of hay and 560 loaves of seven-grain bread.

·         Two of the most cherished scenes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are ‘The Parade of Wooden Soldiers’ and ‘The Living Nativity’ — both of which have been part of Radio City’s holiday tradition since they were first performed in 1933.

·         The Rockettes perform 300 kicks per show. On a four-show day, that’s 1,200 kicks!

·         Wardrobe goes through over 30,000 red dots per season to brighten the cheeks of the Rockettes during the ‘Rag Doll’ and ‘Wooden Soldier’ numbers.

·         The Christmas Spectacular features an ‘ice’ rink built on a movable platform. Used during the ‘New York at Christmas’ scene, this huge rink is made from an artificial surface with the same properties as real ice.

·         Four little people, each under 4½ feet, appear in the production. They appear as baby bears in the ‘Nutcracker,’ as dancing snowmen and, of course, as Santa’s elves.

·         More than 300 colorful costumes and 200 hats are used in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Each outfit is exclusively designed for the show.

·         Among the Rockettes, chorus, and Santa, more than 1,200 pairs of shoes are worn per show.

·         Nineteen playful teddy bears star in the production’s tribute to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Portrayed as a ‘Teddy Bear’s Dream,’ it features dancing polar, panda, Arabian, Russian and baby doll bears in a variety of sizes. Each bear costume weighs between 30 to 60 pounds.

·         In addition to the regular cast members, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has several members of the animal family who appear throughout the show. ‘The Living Nativity’ features two camels, four sheep and a donkey.

·         The Rockettes appear in seven different costumes during the show. If they are not seen dancing on stage, you can bet they are changing costumes!

SECOND OPINION: Nov. 9th Durham, NC Independent Weekly preview by Craig D. Lindsey: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/chapel-hills-summer-renner-talks-about-living-the-rockette-dream/Content?oid=2700062; Nov. 6th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Elizabeth Shestak: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/11/06/1618866/for-rockettes-triangle-show-is.html; and Nov. 3rd Durham, NC Herald-Sun previews by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/16273318/article-Kicking-it-with-the-Rockettes-?instance=main_article and http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/16273121/article-Want-to-be-a-Rockette-?instance=main_article (Note: You must register first to read this article).

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR, Starring The Rockettes, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10; 5 and 8 p.m. Nov. 11; 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Nov. 12; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17; 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Nov. 18; 11 a.m. and 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Nov. 19; 12, 3, and 6 p.m. Nov. 20; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23; 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Nov. 25; 11 a.m. and 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Nov. 26; and 12 and 3 p.m. Nov. 27 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701):

TICKETS: $35-$116 (including fees).


DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787), tickets@dpacnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.

Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000, 919/834-4000, or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1438077.

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or tickets@dpacnc.com.

SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/radio_city_christmas_spectacular.

SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/suntrust_broadway_series.

VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.radiocitychristmas.com/nationaltour/index.html#about.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/getting_here.

PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/parking_guide.


The Show: http://www.radiocitychristmas.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_City_Christmas_Spectacular (Wikipedia).

The Tour: http://www.radiocitychristmas.com/nationaltour/index.html (official web page).

Radio City Music Hall: http://www.radiocity.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_City_Music_Hall (Wikipedia).

The Rockettes: http://rockettes.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rockettes (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).