Radio City Music Hall

1260 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10020

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Radio City Music Hall

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of the greatest Art Deco style structures ever built, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most well known landmarks of New York City. Opened on December 27, 1932, with a variety show, it screened its first film Barbara Stanwyck in “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” on January 11, 1933. The proscenium is 100 feet wide, the stage 66 feet deep. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ, which has twin 4 manual consoles and 58 ranks. The organ was opened by organists Dick Leibert and Dr. C.A.J. Parmentier.

Showing a mixture of movies and stage shows in the program for 45 years, the format was ended on April 25, 1979 with Kathleen Quinlan in “The Promise”. Thereafter the programming changed to concerts, stage shows and special events.

Reborn after a $70 million renovation in 1999, Radio City has been restored to all of its original opulence.

Recent comments (view all 3,021 comments)

rcdt55b on November 4, 2015 at 4:26 pm

You are correct. 36.

NewYorker64 on November 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Thanks, rcdt. You know, I really do think there is an amazing amount of the past that lives today at Radio City Music Hall. Sure the digital age has necessitated some changes but one needs that to stay relevant (and follow the money to run the joint). When I walk into the building today, what I see in the general public spaces and the auditorium really do look remarkably as they did in the ‘80’s when I was working there and if someone really wants to push the limit of a production technically, all the capability (and crew) is still there.

rcdt55b on November 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm

I agree 100%. We still do use film from time to time also.

JAlex on November 5, 2015 at 8:29 am

Since the question was raised about the number of Rockettes, it may be of interest that when the troupe started, in 1925 at the Missouri Theatre in St. Louis as the Rockets, it numbered 16.

vindanpar on November 8, 2015 at 11:05 am

I believe the Music Hall opened with 46. With that false proscenium they can make the stage shows smaller without it being noticeable.

The ballet company and orchestra were huge as well as one can see in photos from the early 30s.

In the 70s after they cut the ballet troupe the Rockettes were cut down to 30. Though there was no false proscenium the curtain opening got narrower and the girls were a bit more spaced out. Also the orchestra members were also spaced out and they started to use a synthesizer to augment it.

markp on November 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Saw the Christmas show tonight at 530pm. Awesome as usual. But its funny, even on the new screen, which was huge and awesome, from my seat JJ505 off aisle E, the image looked like 3 varying shades of brightness. Im wondering if its the 3D glasses causing me to see this???

rcdt55b on November 12, 2015 at 7:50 pm

We did go back to linear 3D gels this year which is better than last year’s circular 3D gels because of less double image. This isn’t the reason for what you saw though. There are 2 vertical braces behind the screen which are right up against the screen itself. Each one is a third of the way in from each side. Because the screen is so big, there is some slack in it. When the house fans are turned on, the screen is blown back onto these braces. On bright scenes, the braces are very visible while watching from the front. The second problem is the silver screen. It is extremely reflective. So because the screen isn’t sitting perfectly flat now, it looks like 3 sections of different brightness. We complained enough over the last few years about the braces that they finally removed the diagonal ones so it wasn’t as noticeable.

BTW, that screen is not the new one. It’s the same one we have used for the Christmas show for the last 4 years. The new picture sheet, which is also a silver screen for some reason, is only used for movies.

markp on November 13, 2015 at 5:34 am

rcdt55b, yes you described what I was seeing perfectly. Thats exactly what I said to the folks I was with, that it looked like 3 sections. Every time I leave, I always look up to the booth and always wish, although I know never possible, what it would be like to see the booth. My projection career of 38 years ended 2 years ago when digital took over. Now Im just a stagehand. Have a good show run.

NYer on November 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Adele appeared last night. She used the whole front wall as a screen and it was amazing. I’ve been going to RCMH all my life and this was the first time I’ve any show do this.

rcdt55b on November 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Not only did she use the front wall, but she used the sides also. It took 27 digital projectors to do it. It was a good show.

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