Mom Theatre Blogger: New York Spring Spectacular: Family Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
The New York Spring Spectacular, created by a Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning team for Radio City Music Hall, is inspired by the magic of spring, set against a musical celebration about the energy, places, people, passion and promise that make New York a one of a kind destination.
This all-new show at Radio City Music Hall, featuring state-of-the-art technology and dance numbers performed by the legendary Rockettes, is like a flashy love letter to NY, with a tug at your heartstrings plot. The audience meets Bernie, an older gentleman who has been giving old fashioned tours of New York for decades, but his company was just bought by Jenna (Laura Benanti), a bottomline-focused techie with plans to fire Bernie and turn his tours virtual. Enter Jack (Derek Hough), an angel seeking his wings, who can earn them if he helps Bernie retain his job. Think It’s a Wonderful Life meets a modern day New York. Bernie takes Jenna — and the audience– on the tour of a lifetime, from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in an attempt to prove his worth. By the last stop of this whirlwind adventure, these three people are forever changed.
The show has a touristy vibe, but even native New Yorkers will be hard-pressed not to be impressed by the effects including moving/talking statues, especially the comical banter between the two Lions at the Public Library, voiced by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Whoopi Goldberg voices the Statue of Liberty. And, courtesy of Chase,who presented the show, audience members were lent bracelets that lit up in different hues on cue, which lent a cool interactive element to the 3-D production, that featured a film to be watched with disposable glasses given to theatre-goers.
This brand-new flashy theatrical production is led by an award-winning creative team that includes Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Warren Carlyle as director and choreographer, Tony Award winning director and Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) Diane Paulus and American playwright and Drama Desk Award winner Randy Weiner as the show’s co-creative directors and up-and-coming playwright Joshua Harmon.
The real draw here is Hough, of Dancing with the Stars fame, and at the end, he gets the greatest applause from the many groupies in the audience. The beautiful Benanti (a Tony Award winner) has a lovely singing voice and presence, and interacts well and on her feet with the audience. She and Hough cut a mean rug, when they have the opportunity to take an elegant spin on the dance floor. And, Hough proves he has singing chops as well (we know from television that he can dance up a storm), and impresses here with his charisma, energy and flair.
My son, age 12, enjoyed the show. One playful number, where the Rockettes and others dance in the rain, held particular interest for him. And, as a kid who loves the city, he took pleasure in noting all the places he had been that were featured.
If you’d like to introduce your child to the excitement of New York, this is an entertaining and memorable way to stimulate their senses and interest.
The New York Spring Spectacular runs through May 7th at Radio City Music Hall®. Tickets are available online at www.rockettes.com, by phone via Ticketmaster at 866-858-0007, or at Radio City’s Box Office (50th St. & Avenue of the Americas).