Hate me if you want, but I’m just going to say it — Derek Hough needs to be kicked off ‘Dancing With The Stars’. His talent belongs on Broadway, as proven by his fabulous performance in Radio City’s ‘New York Spring Spectacular’. If you’re visiting NYC, you can’t miss this show!
Radio City Music Hall finally raised the curtain on it’s highly-anticipated new ‘spectacular’ after years of preparation, planning, and a very public & embarrassing setback in 2014. To say that the show was worth the wait may be arguable, but no one will deny after seeing the ‘New York Spring Spectacular’ that Derek Hough is a powerhouse performer, whose talent can not be topped! If he was voted off ‘DWTS’ next Monday and had to focus just on this show, that honestly wouldn’t be the worst thing!
‘New York Spring Spectacular’ Review: Derek Hough Shines As Broadway Leading Man
The Emmy-winning star leads an impressive cast of singers, dancers, and of course, the world famous Rockettes on a tour of the greatest city on Earth, New York City. The book, practically ripped from the pages of Frank Capra‘s early drafts of It’s A Wonderful Life, leaves much to be desired; true New Yorkers will probably be frustrated to basically watch 90 minutes of an elaborate infomercial for the city they live in. However, if you can look pass the story and go just for the ‘spectacle,’ you won’t be disappointed.
Extravagant staging and giant animatronics that would make a Disney Imagineer’s head spin, the show has something for everyone, young and old. But the true star of the production is it’s leading man. The DWTS pro proved that he can not only DANCE, but he can carry a tune and elicit a laugh or two. His character, Jack, is an angel sent to Manhattan to save the job of a beloved tour guide named Bernie in exchange for a set of wings. His mission, set forth by ‘God’, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg , (the only other person besides Morgan Freeman qualified for the role) is to convince an Internet bazillionaire named Jenna, played by the incredible Laura Benanti, not to fire Bernie and turn his whole operation digital. With determination and ‘angel magic’ on his side, Jack does all he can to save Bernie’s livelihood. (Spoiler alert: he does. It is a family show after all.)
What follows is an elaborate, splashy production that transports the audience everywhere from the runways of NYFW to sitting court side at a Knicks game to standing atop of the Empire State Building. As for Derek, he waltzes his way through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, two-steps in Grand Central Station, and in the most show-stopping number of the production, taps alongside the Rockettes in Central Park, while quite literally being drenched with water as it showers upon them during ‘Singin’ In The Rain.’ If Harvey Weinstein isn’t drumming up a revival right now with Derek in the Gene Kelly role, he’s missing a golden opportunity.
‘New York Spring Spectacular’ Review: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler Steal The Show
While Derek & the incomparable Rockettes carry the show to glory, one moment will surely be the highlight of the evening for most. As Bernie takes his group to the New York Public Library, Jack brings the majestic lions outside the landmark to life, and who should be voicing the sassy kittens but Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Bringing their signature, snarky hosting schtick to two giant animatronics, their banter on the Big Apple and current events steals the show; my only criticism was that their set wasn’t longer!
Overall, what the show lacks in story originality, it more than makes up for with dazzling, mesmerizing numbers by the Rockettes and Derek. Here’s hoping we see much more of the latter in on the Great White Way soon!
So, if you’re in New York this spring, Hollywoodlifers, you should make it a point to check out the New York Spring Spectacular, playing at Radio City Music Hall, now through May 3rd.
— Dina Sartore-Bodo