Radio City Music Hall was constructed on a plot that was meant for the Metropolitan Opera House.
The development of the Rockefeller Center premiered following the cancellation of the Opera House plans in 1929.
This new complex featured two theatres: Center Theatre and the International Music Hall, with the latter running successfully up until the 70s when declining patronage almost lead it to bankruptcy.
In the mid-1978, Radio City became an NYC landmark.
The Music Hall was reinstated back to its glory and was once more opened to the public.
What's in a name?
The International Music Hall became the Radio City Music Hall, a name derived from the first tenants of the complex (Radio Corporation of America – RCA).
RCA used to plan mass media events referred to as Radio City on the Rockefeller Complex.
A Look Inside
A Breathtaking Ceiling
John D. Rockefeller Jr., who was the brainchild of the complex, had his team go to Europe on a cruise to look at the theatres there for inspiration.
The funny thing is that on their way, they were impressed by the sunset view from the ship, so they brought the idea back, which explains why the ceilings of Radio City Music Hall have a golden-arched ceiling.
The red seats depict how the sun reflects on the ocean.
A hidden tunnel
The hidden (underground) tunnel connects the Rockefeller Center to the Radio City Music Hall.
The patrons frequently used it, but in the 1960s, it was closed to the public. Today, celebrities can move from to either side to the other without too much attention, thanks to the tunnel.
The magical transportation of musicians
The intricate system that features a 10,000-pound band vehicle transports musicians right to the Orchestra Pit, which is about 80 feet away, without the audience knowing.
Uniform appearance for the venue
Although the costumes of the Rockettes changes several times in a show, the theatre details remain unchanged from 1932. Since it was designated as the NYC historical and national landmark in 78 and 87 respectively, Radio City Music Hall has to maintain its original state.
This includes everything from the carpets and wallpaper to the seats' upholstery.
Other incredible aspects of the Radio City Music Hall are its organs block tiny doors, kickback lounge, luxury apartment, ‘ghost' orchestra, and books with decades of autographs.
The Radio City has roughly 6,000 seats – divided into five distinct levels.
On the theater floor, there's seating in the main Orchestra level as well as in the small Pit Level ahead of the stage.
Fans can also seat on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Mezzanine Levels that are opposite to the stage for an elevated view.
Pit Level seating
This is one of the best seating positions in the house; it provides fans with an incredible feel for the show.
From the Pit Level seats, one can stand closer to their favorite performers. However, the seats are sometimes unavailable (like in live performance music) for the guests as the show's musicians occupy them.
Orchestra Level Seating
This level comes after the Pit Level and occupies the rest of the floor at the Hall.
On average, there are about 45 rows on every area of the Orchestra Level, and viewpoints may vary from front rows to the back.
1st Mezzanine Level seating
The 1st Mezzanine level provides the same view as the back rows of the Orchestra Seating. Its primary advantage is that it has fewer rows, and therefore those seating here are not likely to have a blocked view. It's especially ideal for shorter people.
2nd Mezzanine Level Seating
The 2nd Mezzanine Level sits between the 1st Mezzanine Level and the 3rd Mezzanine Level. It is more elevated than the previous level, so it offers a great view of the stage.
3rd Mezzanine Level is farthest from the stage but offers the best seating option. Besides, it has the least number of seats, which makes for a unique and intimate experience.
Radio City Music Hall is the home to the Rockettes, a dance company established in 1925 in Missouri.
They have been performing in the Radio City since it' was opened in 1932.
Russell Markert, their founder, got inspiration from “The Tiller Girls” which is a British dance group, as they performed in the Ziegfeld Follies show.
So he started a 16-member group American chorus line of precision and glamorous dancers who could entertain with distinctive flair and style.
Later on, Markert expanded the group from the original 16 to 36 dancers, and their spectacular show began to entertain audiences on a day-to-day basis.
In fact, they would perform up to four shows every day, which meant 28 in a week all year long at the Radio City for the next four decades.
In addition to performing at the Radio City, the Rockettes have also entertained the masses in other prestigious occasions, including the Super Bowl Halftime Show, military tours in World War II, presidential inaugurations and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
Today, their iconic Radio City Christmas Spectacular attracts more than 2 million visitors every year.
The Rockettes group now has 80 women; however, each cast still has 36 dancers on stage at any given time, just like in the past.