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Review: Rockettes radiant in upgraded show in Grand Prairie

11/24/2012 1:03 PM

11/25/2012 7:50 AM

In the 1930s, the Radio City Rockettes with their precision dancing and glamorous costumes were quite the sensation, and probably a bit risque. They were the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders of that time.

After 85 years of being the belles of the ball in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, you might expect that those glittery gams would shine less brightly.

Think again.

With some technical upgrades, the 2012 Rockettes became the perfect fusion of classic and modern at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie on Friday night, the opening of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which runs through December 9.

This year's tour production featured a 50-foot LED screen as the backdrop, which provided such exquisite, eye-popping scenes and yet somehow still managed to keep the Rockettes front and center.

When the famed Radio City Music Hall showed movies, which it did through the '70s, the Rockettes performed regularly during intermission. It was definitely fitting to watch the dance troupe perform in their own "motion picture" during this re-booted stage production.

In a new scene to the show, "New York at Christmas," the Rockettes boarded a life-size double-decker tour bus, which became an awe-inspiring 3-D experience. As the bus "passed" through neighborhoods on its way to Times Square, it really felt as if you were moving through the streets of New York City.

There are a few heartwarming moments during the show including "Magic is There." In a slight story variation to the New York stage show, brothers Patrick and Ben are trying to find the perfect present for their sister when they run into a Salvation Army Santa. Ben thinks Santa is the real deal while older brother Patrick is not convinced. In the lively "Here Comes Santa Claus," Santa tells the brothers the secret of how he can be seen at multiple places at once. The scene begins with low-tech staging and culminates in a high-tech display of Santa by the hundreds.

The brothers are then whisked away on a journey to the North Pole where the perfect gift -- in the form of Rockettes dressed up as rag dolls -- finds them. In one of the best dance numbers of the night, the Rockettes, while using blocks as props, showed off their immense skills with tap-infused movements and precision.

In a nod to the past, the short collage celebrating the Rockettes' 85-year-legacy was a nice touch and a good reminder that fun, wholesome entertainment never goes out of style.

In the finale, "Let Christmas Shine," the modern-day Rockettes, wearing costumes made with more than 3,000 crystals, looked ever so radiant as they performed their signature kick line, fastening their arms from behind, raising their legs to their eyelashes -- all in unison.

Proving once again that their stars will never burn out.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

When: November 23-December 8

Recommended for: All ages.

Where: Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie

Cost: $19.95-$125

Info: 972-854-5111 and Want to win tickets to the December 7 show? Take's Rockettes Quiz for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the December 7 show of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

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