OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Rockettes' return a Christmas gift for audiences of every age

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-12-17T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Rockettes' return a Christmas gift for audiences of every agePhilip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

It takes a cast and crew of more than 100 people just to stage each performance of the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" starring The Rockettes, which includes the 22 Rockettes (18 plus the four swings) in addition to 14 singers and dancers, two boys and Santa Claus.

The Rockettes perform 300 kicks per show, while managing seven different costume quick-changes.

If the above isn't enough to convince a ticket purchase for this stand-out Christmas stage event, audiences should know they'll never be entertained by a more talented group of performers with so rich a history that celebrates 85 years.

Parent company MSG Entertainment is celebrating this year's special birthday with a new production of "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" starring the Rockettes, which hasn't played Chicagoland since 2008.

It opened over the weekend an plays until Dec. 30 at Akoo Theatre in Rosemont.

I guarantee no audience member of any age leaves this show without a smile that extends inside and outside.

The new show not only stars New York City's high-kicking claims-to-fame, but also new scenes, a selection of glamorous new costumes, dramatic lighting effects, and a 50-foot LED screen to showcase breathtaking new imagery.

The Rockettes have a long-standing relationship with the Rosemont Theatre (now called Akoo) with the debut of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in 1997. This year marks the 11th season the Christmas Spectacular have performed (on and off) at the Rosemont Theatre.

Especially stunning with this new re-imagined show is a Times Square tour with the dancers on a double-decker bus that really appears to move through the streets of the Big Apple. I'm told the "special" bus weighs an astonishing 7 tons and is 34 feet long.

Santa takes center stage in two magical new scenes: "Magic is There," with Santa taking two young brothers on a journey to the North Pole, and "Here Comes Santa Claus," a number that reveals how Santa can be in multiple places at once. Both are evidence while the name of this annual show is worry of using the word "spectacular."

Beloved numbers such as "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and "The Living Nativity," both of which have been performed since the "Christmas Spectacular’s" inception, still remain (with the Nativity scene now minus live animals and no longer extending in the theater aisles amidst the audience).

The new Rockettes dazzling new costumes and choreography during the number "Let Christmas Shine," as the dancers wear costumes featuring more than 3,000 crystals, stay's engrained in audience brains as a welcomed happy tune.

Tickets are $30 to $89 at (800) 745-3000 or radiocitychristmas.com.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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