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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Radio City Music Hall: World’s Largest Indoor Theater

Radio City Music HallI made the mistake – once – of hosting a 4th birthday at home for one of my progeny. The Boy’s birthday is in May, and I was overly confident that it would be a nice day for lots of outdoor games and activities. Then it rained. We ended up playing animal charades 587+ times, until I (gasp) put on a DVD.

So on the occasion of The Girl’s 4th, the possibility of a birthday party wasn’t even presented to her. Instead, we hyped up a trip into NYC to see the Madagascar Live! show at Radio City Music Hall, followed by lunch and shopping at Dylan’s Candy Bar. Funny thing…they both fit the “Go BIG” profile as world’s largest…interesting…

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

The four of us drove into New York City (a 90-minute trip) for the day. We had tickets to see Madagascar Live! at Radio City Music Hall. The kids love a trip into “The City,” and as long as Matt does the driving, everyone is happy.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Radio City Music Hall is the world’s largest indoor theater, but it’s also one of the loveliest. And it’s a quintessential New York landmark which I wanted the kids to experience. It was serendipitous that a kid’s show was scheduled for The Girl’s birthday weekend, providing the perfect opportunity for all of us to see it together. The last time I was there was over 15 years ago for a Barry Manilow concert.

Go ahead and snicker…I’ll wait…

The size of the Music Hall is deceiving from the outside. Its marquee is a full city-block long. Its auditorium measures 160 feet from the back to the stage, and the ceiling is 84 feet high! The stage is framed by a huge proscenium arch that measures 60 feet high and 100 feet wide. The shimmering gold stage curtain is the largest in the world.

For most events, the seating capacity is approximately 6,000, with seats on the orchestra level and three mezzanines. They’re shallow, so the view is good even in the nosebleed seats.

Madagascar

Wearing our lemur glasses...some more willing than others

Okay, what was so cool about it?

The architecture is my favorite part of Radio City; I love the look of ostentatious Art Deco, even though I would never decorate my own house that way. The lobby is glitz and glamor from top to bottom, with immense chandeliers, landscapes painted on the walls, and lots of mirrors. The ladies lounge made an impression on The Girl. She was instinctively drawn to sit on the velvet benches in front of the mirrored walls, and ask for her lipstick (aka Tinkerbell lip balm). She also thought the old hand dryers were quite the novelty, as they are operated by foot pedal.

Radio City Music Hall lobby

I sent Matt up to the third floor mezzanine to take this shot. Cause I wasn't going all the way up there.

The original interior designer, Donald Deskey, made art an integral part of the “American Modernist” design within the Music Hall, and its shows. Fine artists created the murals, wall coverings and sculpture; textile designers developed draperies and carpets; and craftsmen made the wood panels and chandeliers.

The experience of sitting in one of the orange velvet seats instantly makes any performance here better. Which, in the case of this show, was a good thing. The architectural details and special effects really enhance the shows. The walls and ceiling are formed by a series of arches which each contain rows of lights, which are used in an effect like a sweeping progression of multi-colored light. In all, there are more than 25,000 lights within the Music Hall.

Radio City

 

This show didn’t necessitate the use of the “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ, which was built especially for the theater. But I love them, and this one is BIG. Its pipes, which range in size from a few inches to 32 feet, are housed in eleven separate rooms.

Someday, when The Girl is older, we’ll return to take the Radio City “Stage Door Tour.” It sounds really interesting; a one hour walking tour of the facility and the art collection, with commentary on the legendary events and shows that have taken place over 80 years. The tour ends with a meet-and-greet with one of the world-famous Rockettes.

A little background info about the place:

Radio City Music Hall opened its doors on December 27, 1932 and has been visited by over 300 million visitors from around the world. It earned official landmark status in 1978. In 1999, Radio City underwent its most extensive restoration project. $70 million dollars later, all the seats, carpeting, and wallpaper had been replaced, murals restored and technical elements enhanced.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):

10!! Planning a trip to NYC? Visit Radio City. That’s an order.

Hey YOU! Go BIG:

Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), New York, NY

212 247-4777 Tour

800 745-3000 Tickets

Radio City

 

4 comments

  1. Adria said,
    May 6, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    What a great idea for a birthday celebration!

  2. Mike said,
    May 10, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    I am ashamed to say that I have never been there even though I have been to NY numerous times. It has been added to “The List”.

  3. Mike said,
    February 22, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

    First visit to the states at age 50 from the UK :-)
    6 days in NY
    Just back
    Did the RCMH tour and it was great
    Truly beautiful theatre

    • Traci Suppa said,
      February 25, 2013 @ 9:29 am

      Mike; I’m so glad this gem was part of your inaugural visit to NYC! May there be many repeat visits in your future! –Traci

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