Go Behind the Scenes at Radio City Music Hall

Go Behind the Scenes at Radio City Music Hall

I don’t think I’ll ever stop being in awe of Radio City Music Hall.

This majestic NYC landmark is best known as the home of the Radio City Rockettes®, but has hosted all kinds of events from concerts to basketball games to awards shows and more.  I recently went on the Radio City Stage Door Tour and got to see some behind the scenes aspects of Radio City Music Hall, as well as learned all about its fascinating history.

I have been to Radio City Music Hall twice before taking the tour, but never had the chance to explore the hall itself because with events you kind of just want to get to your seat, enjoy the show and then get out as fast as humanly possible. It was great to be able to take a guided tour around the place and really take it all in.

The Grand Foyer (©Katie Labovitz)

When you’re not in a hurry or surrounded by hundreds and thousands of rushing people, the Grand Foyer is truly something to behold. This gorgeous Art Deco-decorated room has a funky-patterned carpet featuring instruments and a huge, sweeping staircase descending beneath Ezra Winter’s “Fountain of Youth” mural. Even the lounge areas by the downstairs bathrooms off the Grand Lounge are decked out with beautiful works of art.

Our phenomenal tour guide, Eddie, regaled the group with anecdotes about Radio City Music Hall’s past and present. I really enjoyed seeing the functioning model of the stage and hydraulics system beneath it. It’s amazing to learn that a system that was built in the 1930s is still in use today and that though the hall itself went through major upgrades and refurbishment in the 1990s, the hydraulics system was still good to go.

That stage though (©Katie Labovitz)

Seeing the stage itself, though, was awesome. When the entire auditorium is empty except for the people you’re on the tour with, you really get a sense just how big this place really is. The width of the stage is the same distance as between streets in Midtown and the proscenium and ceiling look like a giant sunset. It’s spacious, but still so cozy and intimate. There may be around 6,000 seats, but when you see a show at Radio City Music Hall, you swear it’s being put on just for you. (At least that’s how I felt when I was there.)

Radio City Music Hall started off as venue where folks could see a feature film and then a stage spectacle. I was surprised to learn that the Rockettes® been performing their Radio City Christmas Spectacular there since 1933. I knew they were an NYC tradition, but hadn’t realized what a staple entertainment entity they’ve been for over 80 years. Last year, however, marked the premiere of the New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes™.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t seen the Rockettes® perform in person yet, but I did get to meet a Rockette® as part of the tour! She explained their performance schedule and the kinds of dancing you need to master to be a Rockette®. While I totally meet the height requirement, I completely lack the required skills it takes for these women to perform their oh-so-precise routines. And let’s be real—I can’t kick that high once, let alone multiple times in a row. In heels.

I had so much fun getting to see the artwork, photos of past performers, Rockettes® costumes, and the different rooms that guests who come to see shows don’t often experience. As a performing arts lover who also happens to thoroughly enjoy history, this tour was right up my alley.

Rockettes® costumes (©Katie Labovitz)

For information of how you can take the Radio City Stage Door Tour, click here. For tickets to the New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes™, click here.

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