Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer’s True Story

 Rosemary Novellino-Mearns  

Wednesday, May 16th  AT THE GENERAL SOCIETY LIBRARY

The lecture starts at 6:30 P.M.  –  Book-signing and Reception to follow

 In her multi-media presentation, Rosemary Novellino-Mearns, will outline the gripping story of how Radio City Music Hall, the Art Deco masterpiece and one of New York City’s most iconic tourist attraction and cultural landmarks, was nearly demolished in 1978; and how she, a ballet dancer at Radio City at that time, led the efforts to save it. In her warmly received book, Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer’s True Story, she details how in only 4 months, this historic landmark was preserved.

 In 1966, Rosemary Novellino joined the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company, the classical dance counterpart to the world-famous Rockettes, eventually becoming its Dance Captain and Assistant to the legendary choreographer Peter Gennaro. In the mid-1970s, behind-the-scenes changes in Music Hall management alarmed hundreds of employees, but no one was prepared for the official announcement in early 1978, that Radio City Music Hall was slated to close that April and be demolished. 

 Ms. Novellino-Mearns refused to let this happen. She became President of “The Showpeople’s Committee to Save Radio City Music Hall” and motivated fellow workers, friends, thousands of Radio City fans around the world, New York and national media, cultural leaders and politicians to support the cause. As a result of these efforts – and the efforts of the many other significant organizations and individuals in favor of landmark designation for Radio City, including The New York Landmarks Conservancy – the Art Deco palace was declared a National Historic Landmark, saving not only the building, but the jobs and livelihoods of numerous Music Hall employees. 

 Since retiring as a dancer, Ms. Novellino-Mearns has become a lyricist with her composer husband, William Mearns, Saving Radio City Music Hall is her first book.

 20 WEST 44th Street  (BETWEEN 5TH AND 6th AVENUES), New York City

Free Admission.  Advance registration is recommended.

 This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.  

 

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