Thursday, December 27, 2012
Radio City Music Hall in New York opened to the public on December 27, 1932. At the time it was the largest movie theater in the world, with seating capacity exceeding 6,000. Its austere, graceful, geometric Art Deco interior by Donald Deskey was a sharp break from the ornate rococo ornamentation of movie palaces of the 1920s and ‘30s. The Great Stage (pictured), 144 feet wide, resembles a setting sun, with radiating proscenium arches that tend to unite the vast space, providing intimacy with grandeur. The Hall’s concept of high-class variety shows quickly gave way during the Depression to movies on a giant screen combined with staged spectacles. It now hosts concerts and live events. The annual Christmas Spectacular, which debuted in 1933, draws more than a million people. It features the high-kicking Rockettes, a precision dance troupe originally founded in St. Louis in 1925.