The Rockettes have been charming New York City every holiday season since 1933, and this year, they’ll do so for the 83rd time! the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is one of the city’s most popular traditions. In a 90-minute stage show that brilliantly combines singing, synchronized dancing and humor, the Christmas Spectacular will instantly get you in the holiday spirit.
In addition to famous numbers like “Rag Doll” and the “Parade of Wooden Soldiers” sequence, you can also expect a few new highlights this year – like helium-filled, GPS-enabled, iridescent snowflakes that float over the audience!
As you might imagine, months and months of hard work and practice go into making this show happen. There’s probably a thing or two else you don’t know about this favorite New York holiday ritual. That’s why we’ve created a list of 11 impressive and amazing facts you should know about the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the talented Rockettes.
1. Radio City Hall is the largest indoor theatre in the world. It has a seating capacity of 6,000 and is an entire city-block long!
2. Some of the songs, including “Parade of Wooden Soldiers” and the “Living Nativity” have been staged every year since the show’s first staging in 1932.
3. The Rockettes wear wireless microphones in their shoes to amplify the sounds of their tap dancing—and those mics pick up every sound, so dancers have to be extra careful with their footwork onstage.
4. Some of America’s most popular entertainers have graced Radio City’s stage, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and BB King.
5. At any given season, there are 80 women who are Rockettes. There are two separate casts; each cast has 36 women on stage at a time.
6. The Rockettes do their own hair and makeup. Hair is always worn in a french twist – not exactly an easy hairstyle to do on yourself, but these fabulous Rockettes can pull it off in 4 minutes flat! Another interesting tid bit: they go through about 540 bobby pins per girl each season.
Red lips, false eyelashes, and a good mascara are key makeup requirements. Oh, and double-sided tape. That’s right; the ladies get their rosy red cheeks for the toy solider number by attaching little red felt circles to their cheeks with strips of double-sided tape.
7. It takes more than 250 people to stage the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, including the cast, which is comprised of over 150 singers, dancers and musicians.
8. During the show’s run, the animals from the Nativity scene drink 450 bottles of water and eat 340 bales of hay and 560 loaves of 7-grain bread.
9. The Rockettes practice full-time for four months. Rehearsals begin in September and take place every weekday from 10am to 6pm. During the show’s season, the Rockettes perform the 90-minute spectacular 17 times a week. That’s a whole lotta leg work!
10. The double-decker bus in the “New York at Christmas” scene weighs 7 tons, is 34 feet long and 12 feet high! In the course of the show’s 8-week run, it will travel approximately 37 miles onstage.
11. Over one million people attend the show annually. No, this is not a tourist trap. It’s just that good! Tourist, local – doesn’t matter. This is a seasonal show you don’t want to miss.
It’s one thing to read about the Christmas Spectacular, but it’s another thing to see it! You can book discounted tickets here.
What’s your favorite scene from the Radio City Cristmas Spectacular? Share in the comments section below!