Among the historic sites of New York City, Radio City Music Hall is perhaps the most iconic. Its famous annual Christmas Spectacular has been running since 1933, and features the Rockettes, a women’s dance team renowned for their precise synchronized movements, including a chorus line of high kicks at the end of every show. The Big Apple is a favourite destination for traveller’s world-wide, including Tunde Folawiyo. Those interested can get more information from the Tunde Folawiyo homepage.
When the Music Hall opened in 1932, it was meant to signal a return to grandiose stage productions, but shortly converted to a cinema-style, showing movies as well as choreographed live performances. The theatre was showing several films a day until the late 1970s. When the Music Hall ceased to be profitable as a cinema, plans were considered to convert the space into office space. Many objected, including the comedian John Belushi, by way of a monolog on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and conversion plans were abandoned. The cinema was renovated instead, and reopened to the public in 1980.
One of the most remarkable features of the Hall is its pipe organ, the “Mighty Wurlitzer,” which is the biggest such organ ever used in a movie theatre. Pipe organs were a common accompaniment to silent films before sound technologies became widely available, but the ‘Might Wurlitzer” was equipped to play many styles of music, including classical organ music, with orchestral-quality sound. The organ has two consoles, eight keyboards, and over four thousand pipes. Radio City Music Hall, unlike many of the famous cinema palaces, was built in the art deco style, full of sharp geometry, bold colours and mechanistic elements. The public spaces within the theatre are also adorned with murals and statues by many significant artists from the era of the Great Depression. At the time of the theatre’s opening, it was the largest movie theatre in existence. It has the capacity to seat over six thousand people.
Aside from its famous Christmas production, Radio City Music Hall has hosted Cirque du Soleil, special episodes of landmark American game shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, professional sports games and the NFL draft. Radio City Music Hall remains one of the top tourist attractions in New York City.