One of the most famous holiday experiences in New York City is the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Launched just one year after the Radio City Music Hall made its grand debut, the annual show has become a beloved Christmas tradition to millions of holiday lovers. So just how long has the Radio City Christmas Spectacular been running?
In 1925, a precision dance group known as the Missouri Rockets was formed by Russell Markert. After local success, the Rockets toured the country and landed at the Roxy Theater in New York City. They were renamed the Roxyettes and performed exclusively at the Roxy, which was owned by Samuel Rothafel. In 1932, Rothafel opened Radio City Music Hall and moved his star act to his newest theater. In 1934, their name was officially changed to the Rockettes and their signature high kicks have continued to make them one of the most successful dance troupes in the world.
When first opened, Radio City Music Hall combined short but elaborate stage productions with Hollywood movies and animations. The first production of the Christmas Spectacular lasted just a few minutes and was followed by a screening of RKO’s Flying Down To Rio and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony The Night Before Christmas. Interestingly, the most recognizable element of this Christmas show actually dates to before Radio City Music Hall even opened.
To help promote the Christmas Spectacular, numerous decorations are added to the facade of the music hall, including wreaths and garland. However, the most iconic decoration is a 71-foot Christmas tree placed just above the entrance of the building. It is the first of many massive trees that will be popping up throughout the city and is a surefire sign that the holiday season is here!
Performances of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular run early November through early January every year. For information about upcoming shows or how to book a tour of the venue, you can always visit the official Radio City Music Hall website!