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.