Comments from CharlesClutzNCARB

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CharlesClutzNCARB commented about Center Theatre on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm

The stage equipment was supervised and built under the direction of Peter Clark, Inc, and the stage and orchestra elevators and revolve were built by Otis Elevator, Inc. The archives of these firms may have the shop drawings and photos of their installations. They are both in existance.

Other potential sources of information are the Library at Lincoln Center and the Avery library at Columbia University. Architectural magazines of the time: Architectural Forum and Architectural Record. If you can gain access to the Rockefeller archive, they may help. Nelson Rockefeller was the brother actively involved with the two theatres.

Edward Durrell Stone’s archive at the University of Arkansas (I believe) may have some information since he was actively involved in the interior design, not the exterior as some have claimed.

CharlesClutzNCARB commented about Center Theatre on Nov 1, 2004 at 2:39 pm

The Center Theatre was designed by Edward Durrell Stone, chief designer for Hood and Foulihoux, one member of the architectural team for Rockefeller Center (Associated Architects). When the Metropolitan Opera could not occupy one of the theatres (designed by their chief designer at the time – Joseph Urban) it was taken out of the project.

The Center Theatre used the same stage machinery as the International Music Hall (RCMH’s orignal name) – an orchestra lift, 3 stage lifts with a turntable in the center. There wasa large pipe organ with twin consoles in niches on either side of the proscenium arch. the theatre also had the lighting control at the front of the orchestra pit (like Earl Carroll’s Theatre) and a contour curtain based upon the Ted Weidhas patents.

There are incorrect attributions to design for the Rockefeller Center Theatres – Donald Desky was brought into the Music Hall after it been designed and provided oversight primarily for furnishings, the Roxy apartment and lounges, not shape and design for the auditorium. His partner, Eugene Schoen worked on the Center Theatre and had a greater input, primarily because it was not as far into the design process.