Christmas Fun for All Ages with the Rockettes

Every year we have a tradition of taking the kids to see a Holiday-themed show. It’s our annual Christmas outing where we dress up and do something cultural that puts us in the Holiday mood. We’ve seen the Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker production. AMAZING! Last year we went to the Goodman Theater to see their version of A Christmas Carol. ULTRA AMAZING! So this year, when I was offered tickets to see and review the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, I was thrilled. We would get to experience a new show that I know people make a tradition of seeing every year.

Let me tell you, it’s a kickin’ good time for families.

Bring the young ‘uns

This show is perfect for little ones. First, the show is split into two 45 minute segments so little people won’t get too squirmy. They can get up and walk around during intermission. Second, even though there is a lot of singing and dancing there is a story line that will keep young kids interested. Unlike the Nutcracker Ballet for example where there is no talking, Santa Claus comes out to narrate in between dance numbers so little kids don’t feel lost and then get distracted. Actually, the Rockettes do a little Nutcracker Ballet routine with teddy bears and mice as dancers. Perfect for little ones.

Also, there is nothing risque, inappropriate, or scary in the show. My kids are 10 and 12 and they got a little scared during A Christmas Carol when the ghosts come out and the stage gets dark. There is nothing but bright lights, smiles, and wholesome fun with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Something for Everyone

I have to admit I was afraid my 12-year-old son, who’s going on 25, was going to hate the show but he liked it. It’s like an old fashioned variety show that seems to be popular again on TV. There’s some singing, some dancing, and even some nostalgia. For the adults and grandparents in the crowd, the little segment with the history of the Rockette’s on Broadway was interesting. It’s the 85th anniversary of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Wow!

The show did a very nice job of combining a more traditional, commercial Christmas with Santa Claus at the helm and ending the show with a live Nativity Scene to remind everyone what Christmas is really about. The costumes in the Nativity Scene are spectacular.

Making a Spectacle of Themselves

Even without the crystals on their costumes, the show had some pretty spectacular moments. The Rockettes are all about precision dancing, right. No girl can be too tall, kick too high, or be out of step. Having performed on a drill team in high school I know it’s hard to sync your movements to people dancing next to you. Well, the Rockettes take it a step further in one of their routines by showing a video of dancers on the screen behind the stage. One of our favorite routines was the Santa routine. Everyone in the cast is dressed in a Santa suit and they dance on stage but then they turn on the video screen to show an infinite number of Santas doing the same routine on the screen. It creates a very cool optical illusion that only works if all of the dance movements are in sync.

Another of our favorites was when they bring a double decker sight-seeing bus on the stage and with scenes of downtown New York City flashing by on the screen behind the stage and the wheels turning on the bus, it really looks like it’s moving. I don’t see how the dancers don’t get dizzy and fall down but it’s cool to watch.

Finally, the Christmas Spectacular wouldn’t be spectacular without the march of the Wooden Soldiers. Precision dancing at it’s best!

A Tradition of Giving Back

On the night we were there, the marines were in attendance collecting unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots drive. You can see my daughter adding gifts to the box. However, I learned a lot about how much the Rockettes give back as an organization. They do a lot of charitable outreach while they tour the country. Since my daughter is a Type 1 diabetic, I was especially encouraged to hear their involvement with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Seattle, hosting several events to raise money to find a cure.

According to the press material the show has been totally revamped with new scenes, costumes, and special effects. I’ve never seen the show so I can’t comment on what is new but even if you have seen the show in the past, I would definitely consider making this show a Holiday Tradition. The show runs at the Akoo Theater in Rosemont through December 30, 2012. You can still get tickets so grab them now and take the kids for a show they’ll always remember.

Thank you to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes for allowing me to share this fun Holiday Show with my family.

Have you ever seen the Rockettes?

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Fun with Kids in Chicago

Chicago Toy & Game Fair This Weekend

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, grab your kids and head over to Navy Pier this weekend for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. I won’t be able to make it this year because I’m traveling, but it’s a blast! There are more than 150 inventors and brands showing off their next big toy or game, as well as some old favorites. It’s a great way to try out new games for free and I love supporting the small game and toy inventors before they become big! My daughter enjoyed learning how to play Kubit2Me.

Open to the public both Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19th and 20th, the Fair offers two days of fun for all ages. If you have a child who is a Star Wars fanatic then you’ll love the Star Wars Breakfast, where you can get your kids’ picture taken with some pretty impressive Star Wars characters. (The costumes are amazing.) Although if the breakfast is sold out, don’t panic, the characters walk around the Fair for photo opps during the show, it’s just more crowded. You can see my daughter liked the storm troopers.

The Fair also offers some pretty cool contests and game tournaments. On Saturday, you can make it a memorable day downtown by hitting the Chicago Toy & Game Fair in the afternoon and then enjoy the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade. That will get the family in the Holiday spirit!

You’ll have some fun playing games, find some cool new ideas for Family Game Night and even grab some unique Holiday gifts to get that shopping done early.

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Tags: Fun with Kids in Chicago

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