Theater Review: ‘New York Spring Spectacular’

Production pulls out all the stops
April 3, 2015 Updated: April 17, 2015

NEW YORK—Few theaters have the capability to do what the “New York Spring Spectacular” at Radio City Music Hall does in their show. The theater itself allows amazing technical and artistic production values, and they are all utilized in this spring show.

Of course, it will never be the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” because, well, it is not Christmas. So the number one tourist attraction in New York City has not been challenged, yet nothing of this scope can be seen elsewhere.

The show includes film clips from a myriad of favorite movies, as well as impressive sets of New York locales, including the Metropolitan Museum, the 42nd St. Library Lions, Central Park, and, of course, Times Square.

The Rockettes and Laura Benanti (center) in a number from the Radio City Spring Spectacular. (MSG Productions)
The Rockettes and Laura Benanti (center) in a number from the “New York Spring Spectacular.” (MSG Productions)

As far as talent, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kelly Ripa, and Michael Strahan were some of the talent adding their voices to the show. Whoopi Goldberg’s voice adds a nice surprise.

Derek Hough, in addition to being a fantastic dancer, is also a really good singer. His “Singing in the Rain” number with fellow dancer Jared Grimes (who brought the house down in “After Midnight” last year), and of course the Rockettes, is a real showstopper.

Laura Benanti does her job as the billionaire owner threatening to mechanize New York and replace Bernie (well played by Broadway veteran Lenny Wolpe). Though garnering star billing, Benanti has a rather minor part in this weak script. She sang well and did a good quick turn with the Rockettes, but the star of TV’s “Nashville” was not shown to her best advantage here.

(L–R) Derek Hough and Jared Grimes dance in
(L–R) Derek Hough and Jared Grimes dance in “Singing in the Rain.” (MSG Productions)

Speaking of the Rockettes, what is there to say? They are fabulous! They look good, move well, and dance their heinies off. The most impressive number has them wearing lights that change color.

Production values are impressive overall, including eye-popping sets by Patrick Fahey, and direction and choreography by the multitalented Warren Carlyle.

Speaking of the Rockettes, what is there to say? They are fabulous!
The use of animation in the imaginative sets and film, including the 3-D segment by Reel FX, are well-done attention grabbers. The costumes designed by ESOSA are flattering and add another layer of eye candy. Watching the huge Radio City Orchestra rising out of the pit is always stunning.

As exciting as the overall lighting by David Agress was, a couple of times it did not work well. The audience’s wrist bands changed color, but they were not well-coordinated, and the bright lights shining at the audience could have provoked an aura for an unannounced seizure.

Yet this mighty work merits a visit. It is fast moving, full of surprises, and has lots of Rockettes—so carpe diem.

‘New York Spring Spectacular’
Radio City Music Hall
6th Ave. and 50th St.
Tickets: 888-456-8499 or
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (no intermission)
Closes: May 3

Nanci Callahan is the founder and managing director of the West Side Cultural Center. To contact her, write to