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Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes: What's New for 2022

The legacy of magic that began its yuletide odyssey on Radio City’s Great Stage in 1933 is back in a breathtaking 2022 edition filled with beloved classics and vibrant new numbers guaranteed to make your season bright!

radio city rockettes

For New Yorkers, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, presented by QVC, is a tradition handed down generation to generation; for visitors to the Big Apple during the holiday season it’s a must-see/must-share experience unmatched anywhere on the planet. 

As for the stars of the show, the Rockettes—36 at every performance—dazzle non-stop on Radio City’s vast stage. This choreographic dream team may be known as world-famous precision dancers, but their ability to impress skyrockets once you add in the athleticism and timing required to ricochet from one dance number to the next with killer costume changes in between.

parade of the wooden soldiers

In the show’s most iconic number, “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” for instance, the Rockettes’ 3-foot hats block their peripheral vision to the point where they depend on each other to maneuver the 180-degree precision march leading up to their coup de grâce domino collapse. 

Once the lights come down, all three dozen soldiers are backstage undergoing a complete costume metamorphosis at the hands of 12 dressers, a.k.a. quick-fire change artists. In under a minute and a half, the Rockettes are totally transformed and back on stage.

The show’s cavalcade of stunning production numbers is enhanced by an unseen techno-wonderland. Projections now fan out to cover the audience from the first row to the third mezzanine thanks to the most advanced 14K digital mapping, immersing theatregoers in the action unfolding onstage. Meanwhile, state-of-the-art elevators and 60,000 lbs of counterweights are at work backstage ensuring props and scenery appear and disappear on cue.

rag dolls rockettes

Even the Rockettes are drawn into the show’s high-tech realm thanks to digital wireless mics embedded in their shoes for their “Rag Dolls” and “The 12 Days of Christmas” tap numbers, ensuring that every electrifying rat-a-tat tap sound you hear is live.

CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR: NEW FOR 2022

faeries christmas spectacular

Dance of the Frost Fairies. Photo courtesy MSG Entertainment.

This year the Christmas Spectacular is introducing audiences to the fantastical “Dance of the Frost Fairies”—a scene in which the Rockettes emerge as magical frost fairies in a sparkling winter-scape. And, like snowflakes, all of their costumes are unique: a flutter of 36 diverse designs, each featuring custom fairy wings that work seamlessly with the nuanced choreography. Notably, the Rockettes “costars” in the number are fairy-drones that “dance high above the audience.”

In contrast, the time-honored “Living Nativity”—a stunning crèche recreation that brings together gentle animals, eloquent narration, and stirring music—dates back to the original production. Also on the roster is the mega immersive show-stopper “Snow,” filling the Radio City Music Hall with winter wonderment. In short, the Christmas Spectacular is the Big Apple’s one-of-a-kind gift to you and your family.

rockettes bus spectacular

BEHIND THE MUSIC HALL CURTAIN: ROCKETTES TRIVIA

  • Before they became The Rockettes, the precision troupe was called the “Roxyettes” after their first NYC venue, the Roxy Theatre.
  • The Rockettes rehearse 6 hours a day, 6 days a week for the 6 weeks leading up to opening day.
  • It took 6,200 hours and more than 20 people to create all the 2022 digital content.
  • Approximately 1,000 costumes and 500 pairs of shoes are worn in the show.
  • The double-decker bus in “New York at Christmas” is 34’ long, 12’ high, and weighs 7 tons.
  • The show has two casts with 42 Rockettes in each; 36 perform onstage at one time.
  • To broaden the number of eligible Rockettes, the height requirement is now 5’5”-5’10½” (vs. last year’s 5’6”-5’10½”).

The Rockettes

The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes runs through January 2nd, 2022. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave., 866-858-0007, rockettes.com.

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. She currently is the theatre editor for all NYMetroParents publications. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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