Trivia Question: When and where did the Rockettes first begin? The answer below will surprise you!
The Radio City Rockettes opened in Kansas City at the Sprint Center tonight, pleasing the crowd with a fantastic performance of their Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in New York City when I was much younger, and tonight brought back memories. Everybody should have a chance to see the Rockettes and hold on to their own memories of the experience.
The Spectacular definitely exceeded my entertainment expectations. Not that I wasn’t anticipating a good show, but I didn’t necessarily think it would be my type of show. However, I came away thoroughly impressed by the quality and variety of the numbers and the scale of the entire event. The choreography was nothing short of perfect; the singing and dancing was precise and complex, lively and joyful.
Behind the Rockettes was a giant LED screen that creatively incorporated a variety of images into the performance, and the dancers were accompanied by music from a live symphony orchestra. There were probably a dozen or more numbers, including scenes from The Nutcracker, and the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, in which the Rockettes fall like dominoes in slow motion.
The height of the performance was the rendition of several traditional Christmas pieces that openly and tastefully illustrated the real reason for the Season – the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope He brings to the world. Reading directly from scripture, a couple of children told the gospel story, followed by versions of Joy to the World and a couple other spiritually significant numbers. Their reverence and joy combined for a genuinely glorious effect.
It was truly refreshing to see a mainstream production that didn’t shy away from the real meaning behind Christmas, and I imagine that much of this Kansas City audience probably appreciated it as much as my companion and I did. It grounded the entire performance, adding perspective to the entire event. Kudos to the creators and producers.
All in all, it was a night to remember. The Rockettes are in town a couple more days, and I highly recommend going if you have the chance. You can buy tickets for Sunday night’s show here, and might be able to find some for Saturday night’s performance by looking at various ticket-brokering services online.
Trivia Answer: The Missouri Rockets were founded in Saint Louis in 1925 by Russell Markert, and moved to New York City with the help of showman Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel two years later. Their name was changed to the Roxyettes, and later shortened to the Rockettes. The first performance away from New York City after the group moved there was in Branson, Missouri. There is at least one claim on the internet that the Rockets were actually founded in Kansas City, Missouri (Wikipedia), although I did not readily find other sources that confirmed this.
Post Script: Being able to see shows like this is one reason I love living in Kansas City. We’re not the biggest place on earth, but we’re large enough to draw a world-class attraction like the Rockettes to town. The Sprint Center facilities and staff also contributed to a wonderful evening.