It may be creeping toward 80, but the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular National Tour” is hardly showing signs of aging. In fact, the wildly popular show is looking more modern than ever, something spunky Rockette Lindsay Howe takes pride in.
“We like to think that today’s Rockette embodies the modern woman — intelligent, ambitious, multitalented,” says the Sacramento-born performer. “She’s also stylish, of course, and has some grace.”
Howe and her graceful dancing clan hit the Bay Area in a number of shows in Oakland and San Jose beginning Thursday.
Directed and choreographed by Linda Haberman, the brainchild responsible for the well-received 75th celebratory show at Radio City Music Hall several years ago, you can expect a modern feel here. Think: bigger, better, bolder.
“It’s rescaled and re-imagined,” Howe notes of the show. “It really comes to life in a sort of 3-D fashion. The sets are larger, more sparkly.”
In fact, the production was specifically designed for larger arenas, capacities ranging from 7,000 to 12,000 seats. And the roster is filled with a festive array of show stoppers.
Most intriguing, perhaps, could be all the techno-enhancements. An immense LED screen will showcase a realistic “wintry landscape” at Times Square — technically Santa’s Workshop.
As for the Rockettes, don’t expect to be bored. Some head-turning numbers include the popular “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” “Living Nativity” and a heart-pounding Rockettes finale dubbed “Let Christmas Shine.”
It begs the question: Aren’t these gals fatigued after all that dancing and all those high kicks?
“It’s a high-paced show for us and definitely a tough rehearsal schedule,” Howe chuckles. “During the show, we’re moving and dancing, either onstage or off, practicing or changing into the many different costumes — all the time. We don’t stop until that show curtain goes down.”
Curiously, the idea of actually becoming a Rockette never became a reality for Howe, who’s been dancing since the age of 6, until she graduated high school.
“I went to New York and visited to Radio City Music Hall and learned all the history, and I thought, ‘I think I can do this. This would be right.’ Maybe being 18, and being naive to the audition process, I thought, ‘You know, I’m gonna go for it.’”
Spoken like a true Rockette.
IF YOU GO
Radio City Christmas Spectacular National Tour
Where: Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
When: 4:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday
Where: HP Pavilion, 525 West Santa Clara St., San Jose
When: 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday; noon, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $25 to $100
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com