NEW YORK—As the red velvet curtain of New York's historic Beacon Theatre rose, the audience let out a collective exhale and gasp at the heavenly scene that greeted them.
The Holiday Wonders completed its 10-show run tonight to a packed house, and the audience members were noticeably touched by the performance that presents traditional Chinese Arts alongside a few western holiday traditional numbers.
Visiting from Seattle, Tamara, the Associate Director of the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington was equally touched. "This is a beautiful performance. It's interesting to learn about Chinese history, culture, music, mythology, and dance. It is nice to see it performed and brought back to life. The drumming was very dramatic. It was also nice to see a male ensemble of dancers. I also like the diversity of the audience."
Kevin Clearly, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, said "It's a beautiful show, I like the dancers, the drums, and especially Empire Brass because the sound in this theater travels very well. I like the instrument with the two strings (the Erhu). I thought it was really wonderful."
Xin Mao Du, Professor and Financial Executive director of the Taiwan Thinktank Foundation, used to work on Wall Street as a financial advisor. He said, "Though it's rainy tonight, it didn't stop me from coming. You promote the oriental culture very well, and your effort is very valuable. If people in China could watch this, they would feel the universal principles."
Woojin Choi, works for the electric utility company and Bretta Bergin is a teacher, both from San Diego. They were in New York for a vacation and came to the show with their family. "It was a nice introduction to the [Chinese] culture," shared Mr. Choi, who also enjoyed the "The Lady of the Moon" act and the fourteen year old harpist performance.
"It's a beautiful show" added Ms. Bergin.
Mona Rimja, a nurse practitioner from Long Island had a huge smile on her face during the show. "I go to Broadway shows frequently, and its usually just one story. [Holiday Wonders] had many different parts of Chinese culture," she said.
"Top of the line! The dancers are so elegant! The costumes are outstanding! How do they do this? Every step was perfect!" Ms. Rimja continued.
Lucia is a teacher from Long Island who has studied African drumming and martial arts. She also felt that the dancing was beautiful. "I can really appreciate the grace and subtlety of the dancers hand and feet movements. "
David Lissak attended with his sister Renee. He said "I loved everything that was Chinese and Korean. I found the most interesting was the dance with the two boys who went into the [Buddhist] Temple and found religion."
Jackie, a compliance analyst brought her children. "It's a very good show! The kids loved the drummers and dancing. My daughter is doing a paper on Taoism and I thought she could learn from it."
Mariusz Zak from Poland followed his dancer and acrobat girlfriend Miyako of Tokyo to the show. He said, "It is powerful and colorful. The dances and movements are very soft, yet they deliver."
Miyako added "The dancers were very together. The Tang Drummers also had very good energy!"
Sherry Frank, from Ridgewood, New Jersey brought her daughter Debra. "It's a beautiful show. A real cultural experience." She went on to say that she loved the full expressive sound of the erhu (the two stringed Chinese violin).
Theresa Stewart, a bookkeeper from Felda, Florida had just arrived with her family in New York City for the first time this morning. "We enjoyed the show very much. The costumes, the music. The kids like the intense drumming. I also like the message. It was very touching."
When asked what the message was, she paused and then answered "love."
Kim Fuller from the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce felt that the show presented "a great diversity of cultures. It's like going on a world-wide tour through the orient with different culture dances. It is a very nice experience, a multi-faceted experience. I recommend that everybody should catch this show when it tours."
Playwright, teacher, and mother Adina Ruskin shared similar sentiments and reflected for a moment. "Nicholas Roerich believed we could create peace through cultural awareness and understanding. This show is a cultural, ethnic, colorful, delicate, yet passionate spectacle and surely creates a glorious bridge for peace between different cultures."
Mrs. Ruskin's seven year old daughter Sophie added "I was surprised to see the Lady of the Moon piece because I just read the story about two weeks ago. I also loved the costumes from the Qing Dynasty dance."
Howard L. Applebaum, President of Corporate America real estate brokerage said that he will tell all his family and friends about the show and its positive message.
"Everything is great. The show exceeded all my expectations. If people didn't know what Truth, Compassion, Tolerance is before, then after walking out of the theater tonight, they should really think about it."
Additional Reporting By Peter Wei