Radio City Music Hall is another unique and magnificent music and entertainment venue in New York City.
The venue was named Radio Corporation of America, one of the first tenants of Rockefeller Complex, and who had also developed studios for NBC at 30 Rockefeller. The somewhat cavernous interior was designed by Edward Durell Stone in austere Art Deco lines. Interior design was by Donald Desky, utilizing geometric Art Deco, and the Great Stage, with its advanced elevators, was designed by Peter Clark and Otis Elevators. It was so advanced that it is said that the U.S. Navy used the same technology for its World War II aircraft carriers.
The various public areas of the Music Hall are also studded with amazing artwork – most created by Depression Era artists. There are also three female nudes cast in aluminum commissioned especially for and displayed variously within the Hall, variously called “Goose Girl” by Robert Laurent, “Eve” by Gwen Lux, and “Spirit of the Dance” by William Zorach. And another notable feature of the Music Hall is its “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ – the largest pipe organ built for a theater.
It took them some time to figure out what type of shows would click with the viewing public. The Music Hall opened in 1932 with a lavish stage show that was not a notable success. In 1933, they shifted to a feature film that included a spectacular stage show. This was their format until 1979, when exclusive film bookings became more difficult in the 70s.
After a brief renovation, it opened to the public again in 1980. They still offer movie premieres and feature film presentations, but with a shift in focus to concerts and live stage shows. Each year, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has become an annual event. Leading artists have performed there in recent years, including televised events such as the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the NFL Draft, among others.
This is the largest indoor theater in the world, and performances suffer none the worst for it. Home of the legendary Rockettes, Radio City Hall is the heart of Rockefeller Center – a “palace for the people,” with spectacular shows for the average New Yorker. It has the capacity of seating more than 6,000 people, including seats on the pit elevator, and some say with no bad seat in the house. Definitely a place you should visit on a trip to New York.
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