Rockettes give Christmas gala a real kick

November 19, 1992|By New York Times News Service

One deer a-sleighing, two skaters skating, three lumpy camels, two mighty organs and one Santa Claus. Not to mention 60 years' tradition, 72 legs a-kicking, 100 cast members and a horde of happy fans. Yes, "The Christmas Spectacular" is back, off on a 179-performance run that is expected to pull a million people into New York City's Radio City Music Hall before it ends Jan. 6.

Driven by energy and verve, the 90-minute "Spectacular" is a mad -- through the season, tossing to gether everything from a Reader's Digest enactment of Dickens' "Christmas Carol" to an abbreviated version of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" performed by humans costumed as various species of bears, to the hard-working, always welcome Rockettes giving new meaning to the word precision with a show-stopping march through "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers."

Other attractions include the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to the skating ponds of Central Park and the scores of carols and hymns and pealing bells.

In the show, the Rockettes play xylophones attached to the backs of each other's costumes and the orchestra delivers sounds of the season as its pit glides up, down and behind the stage. A new number, "Santa's Toy Factory," has assorted elves, Santa and the Rockettes, as orange-haired rag dolls, to be most savored by the extremely young.

And, of course, there is the Nativity scene that brings the show to its reverent climax amid sheep, camels, donkeys, Wise Men, dramatic lighting and gleaming stars over the Holy Land of long ago.

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