Radio City Music Hall Opened the Day in New York on December 27, 1932: Where History Happened

5:03 pm  |  20.08.2021

On December 27, 1932, one of the most beautiful theaters and concert halls in the world opened in New York: the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan (RCMH).

Who Started Radio City Music Hall Day


New Yorkers love their Art Deco Theater in Midtown Manhattan. But there is no official special day there for the Radio City Music Hall.

Stunning inside view

In view of the historical reference, you must know something interesting. The question of authorship or the year of foundation we can’t neglect in this context.

Why Does New York Radio City Music’s Special Day Fall on December 27th?

Architects planned it as the opera house of the Metropolitan Opera. They found a significantly smaller solution for cost reasons. All of this ultimately led to the construction of the Rockerfeller Center in 1929.

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The building complex on the corner of 6th Avenue and 50th / 51th Street was to include two halls. It was the International Music Hall and the Center Theater. Construction work on these buildings began in December 1931. Creators held a topping-out ceremony in August 1932.

After almost a year, they opened the hall as the first part of the Rockefeller Center. The event happened with a large variety show on December 27, 1932. In this respect, the theater is also a creation of the client and namesake John Rockefeller Jr.

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The premiere had a number of big names such as Ray Bolger, Doc Rockwell, and Martha Graham. The hall was high-class vaudeville, the hoped-for success did not materialize.

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John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. and Jr.

One reason for this may have been the length of the show, which ran from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. that night. Many Premiere guests left the hall before the end. According to legend, John Rockefeller Jr. himself.

Architectural Knowledge: Seven Historical Facts To Know About Radio City Music Hall

  1. The RCMH is best known for its spectacular interior design and the Art Deco-style auditorium. The design here goes back to the drafts of the American architects. Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey, who were also responsible for the 60 x 100 ft large stage.
  1. Where does the name Radio City Music Hall come from? The original name was International Music Hall. Creators renamed Radio City Music Hall as early as 1932 due to the first tenant, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).
  1. In the course of the opening, the largest Wurlitzer organ ever built was inaugurated.
  1. Due to the poor response to the premiere, the operators had to look for alternative sources of income. Accordingly, the hall with its 5933 seats was converted into the world’s largest cinema of that time. On January 11, 1933, the first film showed Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of ​​General Yen with the American actress Barbara Stanwyck in the leading role. A special feature of the film screenings in the RCMH was that up to four screenings a day people could see through live performances by artists and show acts.
  1. Citizens used the hole as a cinema until 1979 when renovation work led to the discontinuation. The end of the 1970s, however, threatened bankruptcy or the closure of the hall. It could be averted by the award of the title New York City Landmark on May 12, 1978. Since then, the main focus of the Radio City Music Hall has been on shows and concerts.
  1. In fact, a remnant of this time you can still find today as a regular show act in the program of the Radio City Music Hall. Because on that evening, the dance group The Rocketts performed for the first time. They found the ensemble in St. Louis, Missouri as early as 1925, and its 36 permanent members have been performing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the RCMH every year for the entire pre-Christmas period up to January 1st since 1933. Five 90-minute shows seven days a week including the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and the presentation of the Christmas story. 
  1. In 1999, they spent for around 70 million US dollars as part of a seven-month renovation. But it is still one of the largest indoor theaters in the world.
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MTV and Tony Awards


The Radio City Music Hall is best known for two awards ceremonies that take place here every year, namely the MTV Video Music Awards and the Tony Awards, the prizes for the best musicals and plays on Broadway. Another musical institution is the Christmas show “Radio City Christmas Spectacular”, in which The Rockettes appear as one of the best show dance groups in the world.

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