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 2,984 comments)

markp on November 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Like I said, I guess being a projectionist for over 38 years, I notice these things the average joe would not. If they ever give booth tours Im in, LOL

HenryABax on November 10, 2014 at 5:06 am

The new Christmas show is a great improvement. The terrible video number is gone and has been replaced by the familiar, and much better, “Rag Doll” number. Also, the organists are playing a new medley as an overture. The old one sounded like endless transitions without songs/carols in between. Now, you can identify the pieces that they are playing.

Furthermore, the show begins with the orchestra coming up on the lift, the consoles rolling out, and singers on the waterfall stage extensions singing Christmas carols. They are dressed in traditional RCMH usher uniforms. It’s a nice tribute to the history of the Music Hall.

I also like the way that the organs pick up the last piece as the consoles roll out to play the “Hallelujah Chorus” as exit music. The organists end with a big D major chord and holding bottom D, middle D, and top D in the pedals. That bottom D on the Wurlitzer hits the resonant frequency of the room. A nice old fashioned trick that Leibert used effectively for years. Overall, it seems that someone in charge is being more sensitive to what sounds and looks good in the space. Now, if we could only get rid of that fake proscenium insert that reduces the size of the opening.

ERD on November 10, 2014 at 7:51 am

The fake proscenium cuts down the size of the scenery, saving money. Glad to learn they stage show has improved. I still remember those wonderful 45 minute Leonidoff stage productions that were presented with the movies.Something so magical about them.

moviebuff82 on November 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

How is the christmas show doing with crowds? Seems that this show is the most famous show at the hall….

rcdt55b on November 11, 2014 at 6:01 am

The false proscenium was added for 2 reasons. First it hides the speakers used for the show. Remember how the speakers used to be hung from the ceiling in plain sight? Secondly, it added surface area for the digital projection elements used for the Christmas show and spring show so it actually didn’t save money at all.

As far as the organs go, they do sound great. The reason they do is because components that haven’t worked in years, were all fixed. They are now able to use the entire range of effect available to them.

Crowds have been decent. Remember, the official opening night is not until this Thursday. After that, attendance usually picks up.

ERD on November 11, 2014 at 7:43 am

The fact still holds that the false proscenium cuts down the original proscenium opening and in many people’s opinion looks ugly. The stage shows of many decades ago were more spectacular. Originally, the speakers were hidden in the grills of the ceiling.

rcdt55b on November 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

I’m not denying the fact that it looks bad. It also cut into the size of the 3-D image. We had to make the picture smaller.

DavidM on December 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of my first visit to the Hall, a very special event I’d like to commemorate it by sitting in the same seats my grandfather and I sat in, row BB, seats 413-414. They are the two seats house left of the lighting console. Alas, I can’t seem to get them. They are marked as handicapped seats though I’ve never seen a disabled person sitting in them. I know some folks here work at the Hall. Can anyone provide some assistance? Thanks.

rcdt55b on December 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Hey David. Is it possible that they renumbered the seats since then? The 2 seats house left of the console in BB are actually 412-413. They are definitely used as handicapped seats if needed. There was a wheelchair there yesterday for one of the shows. I looked at the ticket list and every show seems to be sold out for those seats till the end of the run. Sorry.

DavidM on December 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm

rcdt55b, thanks so much

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