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 3,064 comments)

HenryABax on April 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Will the organ be used for the summer spectacular?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Spring question: Would you rather have roses on your piano or tulips on your organ?

rcdt55b on April 23, 2016 at 8:06 am

Not only are they not using the organs, but there will be a digital soundtrack to supplement the orchestra. Oy!!!

NewYorker64 on July 12, 2016 at 9:31 am

Very happy to report that the New York Spectacular is in fact that. It is a rather extraordinary experience, full of the spectacle that one expects from the Music Hall. The story is pretty brain-numbing, with an outright unlikeable character (the daughter), but who ever went to RCMH for the plot line? The rest is a joy ride. It’s big, it’s loud (the soundtrack is pretty juiced up, or shall I say “very produced”), it’s colorful, the dancing is awesome and innovative. Stages rise and fall, lighting and projections on the arches are beautiful and sometimes staggering and it’s all very good and very right. The most old-school might think it a bit garish, and some of the traditional elements (i.e., the organ, the band car traveling vertically across the stage) aren’t part of the experience, but I think it’s very relevant and appropriate for our time and still provides and experience that is singular to the Music Hall. Is it better than a dark stage? Of course! But it’s actually really something to see… albeit with a modern spirit and open mind. There’s obviously a big crew of talent working behind the scenes to make this happen and they are to be applauded. I don’t know enough about what qualifies as “projection” to comment on that element specifically, so I’ll leave that to one of the experts in this community. And oh, those 36 leggy ones… they’re looking very good and appear to be having a ball. Support the Music Hall, its faithful employees, the talent on the stage and, if you saw last year’s show, see what innovative direction can do.

Anyone else see it? I’m not opposed to alternative perspectives.

markp on July 13, 2016 at 11:50 am

NewYorker64, my wife was one of the many dressers on last years show, which was awesome. (sad to say shes not working it this year, shes the head dresser on Cirque Paramour at the Lyric.) Ive heard nothing but good things about it. She will probably be back for the equally great Christmas show in the fall.

rcdt55b on July 13, 2016 at 11:57 am

I won’t comment on the quality of the show itself since I have seen every show so far and it wouldn’t be fair. I do have to say though that ticket sales are EXTREMELY bad. Attendance has been awful.

NewYorker64 on July 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm

I noticed the ticket sales… very unfortunate and likely a direct result of not having star names; an unfortunate dynamic performing arts is going through right now, including Broadway. I saw the show twice, once from 1Mezz A401 and again in Orch ZZ413. The emptiness of the Hall in both cases was alarming. However, being in the orchestra provided a dramatically different experience overall… one of much more energy from the stage, which is to be expected.

rcdt, I think your critical opinion, being so close to the show, would be very interesting. That said, of course one must appreciate your need for professional discretion.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm

I wonder if slow sales can be partially attributed to the title — in seems “New York Summer Spectacular” is more catchy than “New York Spectacular” which sounds a bit generic…

rcdt55b on July 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

NewYorker, I think you are right about not having the big names in the show. Last year when Derek Hough took a day off, their was a clear audible moan from the audience. Also, the thought was that there would be more tourists in the summer.

On the projection side, we replaced the 11 digital projectors on the choral stairs and in the booth with 22 newer, brighter ones. They also replaced some of the LED walls and legs with newer ones and also added more.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 18, 2016 at 11:14 am

“Of Human Bondage” starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard opened here in June 1934.

Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times review:

“At the first showing yesterday of this picture the audience was so wrought up over the conduct of this vixen that when Carey finally expressed his contempt for Mildred’s behavior applause was heard from all sides. There was a further outburst of applause when the film came to an end.”

Ah, if we could turn back time: an adult-themed picture playing to an enthusiastic crowd at the Music Hall…

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