Thermometers may be pointing toward a scorching summer, but Christmas nonetheless is coming early to metro Atlanta.
With 100 local dancers high-kicking around its circular entry drive on Wednesday, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre plans to announce that the Rockettes will perform the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” there Nov. 7-23.
The 29-show run will mark the largest booking in the nearly six-year history of the northwest Atlanta facility’s 2,750-seat John A. Williams Theatre.
The Rockettes have presented their touring Christmas show three times in Atlanta since 2001, the last appearance at the Fox Theatre in 2009.
One of the Rockettes who danced in that Fox tour stop, Atlanta native and former Atlanta Ballet dancer Margaret McPherson, touts the “Spectacular” as “the largest theatrical production that Radio City has taken on the road.”
Apparently you can teach the precision-dance troupe founded in 1925, and performing out of New York’s Radio City Hall since 1935, some new kicks.
The “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” coming to Cobb Energy will feature new scenes, sets, costumes and choreography, of-the-moment lighting and special effects and a 50-foot LED screen.
That newest piece of technology gets a starring role in a new tour number, “New York at Christmas,” in which the dancers board a full-scale double-decker tour bus and take audiences on a guided Manhattan tour.
“When it gets to Times Square, we all get off the bus and perform some beautiful precision-dance choreography, and then the scene ends with all the Rockettes doing our world-famous ‘eye-high kicks,’” McPherson said. “It’s such an amazing scene. I got to see it last year, and it just blew me away.”
Santa Claus is featured in two new numbers, “Magic Is There” (the white-bearded one takes two brothers on a journey to the North Pole) and “Here Comes Santa Claus” (which reveals how the gift-giver can be in so many places at once despite Atlanta’s expansive geography).
While the emphasis is on the new, the show does retain some classic numbers, including the tap-powered “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity.”
To make all the dancing measure up to the “Spectacular” claim in the title, McPherson and the 35 other Rockettes in this touring company will participate in a “very rigorous” rehearsal process in the fall: six hours a day, six days a week for nearly a month.
“They make sure we all know exactly what we’re doing,” said McPherson, 32, who attended the Marist School and is pursuing an undergraduate business degree at Georgia State University. “So by opening night, we’re very confident, everybody knows exactly what’s going on and we can bring the best performance to the audience.”
“Radio City Christmas Spectacular” starring the Rockettes
Nov. 7-23 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Tickets: $26-$97. VIP seats: $104-$126. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Cobb Energy box office, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000.
The kickoff event at 10 a.m. Wednesday, featuring 100 local dancers performing with two Atlanta-based Rockettes in a high-kicking style at Cobb Energy Centre, is open to the public. The first 100 people joining the kick line at the event will receive a “buy one, get one free” voucher.