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Pedro J Torres

Brooklyn Academy of Music

The History of Radio City Music Hall

The History of Radio City Music Hall

Designed as a palace where ordinary people could see high-end quality entertainment, Radio City Music Hall has stood at the corner of 6th Avenue and West 51st Street for 86 years.

Developed by the billionaire John D. Rockefeller, JR., Rockefeller wanted the theatre to be the cornerstone of the Rockefeller Complex in midtown Manhattan. Rockefeller Jr. partnered with the Radio Corporation of America and designer Donald Deskey Radio City come to life. In 1932 during the height of the Great Depression, the Art Deco masterpiece designed with aluminum, gold foil, glass, cork, and marble opened its doors.

In its first four decades, Radio City Music Hall alternated as a first-run movie theater and a site for gala stage shows. Since 1933, more than 700 films have premiered in the Hall. The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular debuted in 1933 and to this day still draws millions of people annually to see the Rockettes.

In 1978, the Music Hall announced it was in debt and the theatre could not remain open. Plans were put into motion for alternate uses of the structure that included converting the theater into tennis courts, a shopping mall, an aquarium, a hotel, and the American Stock Exchange. Later that year a 20-story mixed-use tower above Radio City Music Hall was proposed and the rent from the tower would go to fund the Hall. In 1980, the Hall reopened to the public.

Currently the theatre is used for movie premieres but the main focus of the theatre is a place for concerts and live stage shows. The Music Hall has also hosted televised events like the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the Daytime Emmy Awards, the NFL Draft, and the MTV Video Music Awards.  

Radio City Music Hall is currently leased and managed by the Madison Square Garden Company and to this day remains the largest indoor theater in the world.

Broadway Spotlight: Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Broadway Spotlight: Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Set in a world of splendor, indulgence, and romance, Moulin Rouge! The Musical takes viewers on a theatrical celebration of beauty, freedom, and love!  Broadway’s newest stage adaptation won’t even hit the Great White Way until later this year, but it’s already one of the most buzzed about upcoming shows.

The production was originally supposed to begin preview performances in June in Boston at the Emerson Colonial Theatre, but a construction issue in the theatre pushed previews back. Boston was home to the production from July 10 – August 19, 2018. The production is expected to follow up its run in Boston with a stint on Broadway.

The Broadway production is based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 hit movie where Christian, a young poet and writer comes to Paris to pursue a career and become a member of the Bohemian movement. Christian ends up falling in love with Satine, the star of Moulin Rouge. Unfortunately Satine has been promised to Duke and a love triangle ensues. Christian and Satine try to stay together and are led down a dark path while Satine holds onto a terrible secret of her own!

The music, penned by John Logan, features original songs from the 2001 movie as well as a new score and songs produced just for the musical adaptation.

Taking the stage as Christian and Satine are Broadway veterans Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo. The cast also includes six-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein as Harold Zidler, Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah as Toulouse-Lautrec, Tam Mutu as the Duke of Monroth, Ricky Rojas as Santiago, and Robyn Hurder as Nini. The cast is also backed by an ensemble of 24 phenomenal singers and dancers.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical! is directed by Alex Timbers and produced by Global Creaturess.

The Evolution of Theater: Part 3

The Evolution of Theater: Part 3

Previously discussed in the second part of the evolution of theatre series, Torres talked about the playhouses built and the influence they had on drama. Ending this series, Pedro J Torres will tackle the writers of the 17th and 18th century.

Sturm und Drang (1771-1782)
Friedrich Klinger set the tone for the future drama and plays at the beginning of the 17th century and into the 18th century. His phrase Sturm und Drang means Storm and Stress and that is what young writers in Germany based their own writings off of. The first successful play with this new style of storm and stress was Goethe when he wrote Götz von Berlichingen mit der eisernen Hand (Götz von Berlichingen with the iron hand). Friedrich Schiller, which we will discuss later, also engaged in the theme and wrote a play called The Robbers or Die Räuber. As the century continued though, the mood seemed to shift.

Beaumarchais (1775-1784)
A light comedy caught the eye of many in 1775 whenever the energetic characters from Le Barbier de Séville, The Barber of Seville, came to stage thanks to the French writer Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. Along with being a writer, he was also a watchmaker, a secret agent for the French government and a risky businessman. As his life continued on, his writing seemed to move to the backburner until 1775 whenever he was known as the most popular French dramatist due to his comedies featuring the star character Figaro. Beaumarchais had the fortune to be able to have his two comedies Le Barbier de Séville and Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) to be made into operas by Mozart and Rossini.

Schiller (1797-1805)
The French Revolution was the main event in 1797 but that is also the time that Goethe was trying his hardest to convince Schiller to return to the theater. Schiller started with seven plays that took place over several years. The first few plays that were performed as a trilogy about a character named Wallenstein. The character that was extraordinary was going through the ups and downs of the Thirty Years’ War. Schiller’s plays were so well liked that four of them were made into operas. Goethe and Schiller made quite a team because although Goethe got Schiller back into the theater, Schiller also influenced Goethe to return in 1797.

About Pedro J Torres

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has had a long and illustrious history long before Pedro J. Torres arrived on the scene a few years ago.  Beginning in 1861, the inaugural performance included Mozart and Verdi on the program.  First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln attended a performance during their opening week.

One of Pedro J. Torres favorite things about BAM are their incredible and historical venues, like the opera house in Fort Green on Lafayette Avenue.  The Howard Gilman Opera House is known for its ornate tall ceilings. Known for its Beaux arts style and start of the art sound system, the venue is frequently sought after for major stars, orchestras, and events.

With Pedro J. Torres immense business experience in Venezuela, he is able to offer his guidance and expertise in BAM’s different business areas.  BAM turned their former ballroom into a café to offer dinner to patrons before live events. This café even has an event series of free concerts for the public to enjoy.

The café began in 1999, and the performances are currently curated by Darrell McNeill.  The café has a helped many artists launch their careers and has also served as a home for intimate performances by established artists.  Artists include Licorice, Early Grehound, Sekou Sundiate, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Haale, ETHEL, Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Eisa Davis, Morley, Carl Hancock Rux, and Stew.

Established artists include TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, Jeffrey Gaines, Joe Bataan, Corey Glover, Marc Ribot, Don Byron, Gary Luca, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe, Grady Tate, Vernon Reid, and Marshall Crenshaw.

BAM offers a professional development program that Pedro J. Torres is excited about contributing to. The 14 month long program, which is located at the new BAM Fisher facility offers professional development and deeply discounted theater and rehearsal studio rentals to a group of Brooklyn non-profits and organizations.  The program is a collaboration with DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center. Every year they focus on a new discipline to help their participates have long term success.

Pedro J Torres is excited to be a part of this legendary institution.

Pedro J. Torres is on the board of trustees at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, located in scenic Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York.  As a fan of Avant guard music in the burgeoning Brooklyn arts scene, he feels right at home in this role.