Arts & Culture
"New York Spectacular" as Stunning As the City That Inspired It
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the Marquee Partner level sponsor to the Madison Square Garden Properties and is the presenting Sponsor of the New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.
Each time the Radio City Rockettes take the stage this summer, audiences will be delighted by a mesmerizing combination of tradition and technology that embodies the power and excitement of New York City. And that's the whole point, say those behind-the-scenes of the iconic Rockettes latest production.
Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels incorporates her signature contemporary flair in New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, as she makes her directorial debut. The choreographer behind television's "So You Think You Can Dance?" and Broadway's Finding Neverland has transformed the Rockettes renowned routines into an immersive experience, thanks to flawlessly-executed precision dance moves with a modern twist, couture fashion, 3D video mapping, special effects, soundscapes, vivid colors and more.
"It's taking the tradition and pushing it—making it contemporary and relevant," says Michaels.
Indeed, those who have a preconceived notion of the Rockettes are going to be "wowed," says vocal designer AnnMarie Milazzo, who explains how every facet of vocal design, led by music producer and arranger Billy Jay Stein, was intricately synced up to the dancers' movements. "The Rockettes expand in a beautiful way," she says. "It's a unique marriage of music, choreography and dance."
Every element of the performance was inspired by the sights, sounds and nuances of New York City. In fact, the simple act of walking to school influenced the main storyline, says playwright Douglas Carter Beane, whose daughter would stop and "check in" with the statues they saw along the way.
"She'd look at their faces to see how they were doing," says Beane. "I thought, isn't that wonderful that all these statues are here—they're like the secret guardians of New York just taking care of everybody."
That imaginative spirit fuels how the New York Spectacular is tapping into the hearts of audiences of all backgrounds and ages.
"It's our own version of what 'The Wizard of Oz and 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' were during their time," says Michaels. "I feel like we're almost creating our own fable of a New York City journey of two kids."
"There's a lot of different flavors in the show," says Michaels. "There's power, beautiful elegance and romance. There's quirky, classical and, of course, tap."
The result: a redefinition of a classic masterpiece that's upheld by the rich history of the Radio City Rockettes and Radio City Music Hall.
"You walk in there and there's a heartbeat," says Michaels. "You feel the magic of New York City inside that space. It tells you what it wants, and you listen."
Gina LaGuardia is a journalist and content director whose work has appeared in BELLA Magazine, ReadersDigest.com, Huffington Post and other publications.