Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rockin' the Rockettes, Iowa Style

...................Saw the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectactular today, a fantastic Christmas gift from my Mom to my daughter and I. It was the last show of their run here in Des Moines, and while I've nothing to compare it against, I'm sure it was just as amazing as every show previous to this one! My daughter loved it, was in awe the whole 2 hours.....the show is a bigger than life, over the top, glitz glam and dancing extravaganza. And yes, I was in awe too. A little depressed at the lack of body fat on stage, but the way those girls (and the gents from the ensemble) work it, its no wonder they're so fit.

And the costumes!!!! From the opening number featuring the Rockettes as lithe and limber reindeer (in cocoa brown stretch velvet body suits topped off with light-up antlers), to the Little Shop of Horrors inspired poinsettia costumes......the toys in the workshop come-to-life scene boasting a line-up of Raggedy Ann dolls wearing babdoll dresses over ruffly, red crinolines perfect for the subtle version of the French Can-Can the shimmering snowflake costumes and of course, the sexy Santa suit fur trimmed ensembles.....the costumes were breathtaking.

As well they should be. According to Diane Jaust, Radio City's long-time historian, this season's costumes and staging were painstakingly created to be "a production meant to bridge the quaintly hokey past and the multimedia future" (NY Times). According to Jaust in THIS NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE, "I have been asking Radio City Music Hall for 10 years to get familiar with the material we used in the past and go into the future by new-and-improving it". She shared with this season's director, Linda Haberman, more than 5,000 boxes of photographs, production notes, program and newspaper clippings dating from its opening night in 1932. The concepts that set this show apart in the 30s and 40s were reintroduced in this season's production....bigger than life sets, dramatic special effects and glamorous costuming. This picture from the Rockettes first Christmas Spectacular in 1933 shows how the scale of the set lends a bigger than life feel to the "Coppe'lia" number....

The Rockettes have long been known to sport some of the flashiest, and of course leg revealing, costumes in the industry. In the 30s the dresses were short but the underpinnings more of a trunks length garment, showing leg but no further up than mid thigh. With the revolution of the bikini in the 60s the thighs got a lot more exposure and since then the costumes have become as daring as possible for a family attended event! Read more about the history of the Rockettes costumes HERE. As Vincente Minelli was involved in designing the costumes back in the 30s, its no wonder that some of the costumes reside along side some of Liza Minelli's costumes at Radio City....

And if you want to grab a piece of Rockettes costume history, check out this eBay auction ending in 3 days by COYOTE SURPLUS.....

A superb show worth seeing next year if you get the chance!! ~Ang

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