The Radio City Christmas Spectacular!


Kelly Garcia, Writer

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a musical show that is performed every year at Radio City Music Hall. The show is about an hour and a half long, and includes more than 140 performers. The music that is played in this show is all original, and it combines singing, dancing, and humor with festive scenes. The Rockettes are the main performers of The Christmas Spectacular.

The Christmas Spectacular was first performed on Dec. 21, 1933, and it has been a Christmas tradition in New York City ever since. In the original version of the show, Radio City Music Hall presented a live show with recent Hollywood feature films, such as The Night Before Christmas, Flying Down to Rio, and a Walt Disney Silly Symphony. The Christmas Spectacular was created by Leon Leonidoff, the Music Hall’s stage producer, and Vincente Minnelli, the designer of the show. The Rockettes performed various pieces, such as the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity.” These two scenes are still performed by the Rockettes in the show today.

Besides the Christmas show’s annual production at Radio City, road companies present a touring version in theaters throughout America. The first Christmas Spectacular that was not performed at Radio City was performed in Branson, Missouri at the Grand Palace Theatre in 1994, where they were called the “Missouri Rockets.” Due to the show’s success, a national tour began next year. The original touring show ran from 1994 to 2003, and once again in 2008.

Over the years, the Christmas Spectacular has changed various times. The 2007 Christmas Spectacular was an entirely new and revamped version that was changed for the 75th anniversary of the show. The Christmas show was also put on DVDs for all to purchase. The Christmas Spectacular in 2011 was called The Rockettes Magical Journey, and it included a 3D scene and new musical numbers. The story was about traveling through the Northern Forest to the castle of the Humbug King who had taken toys from Santa Claus’ workshop. The show was once again changed in 2012 with the addition of a new scene. A year later, the finale was altered. In 2014, the 3D scene was removed and new scenes were added, including a scene about two brothers who are looking for a gift for their younger sister.

Each year, more than one million people attend the Christmas Spectacular, and 74 different cities besides New York City present the show. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a successful and memorable show that lives up to its name, and will remain a holiday tradition for years to come.