READER REVIEWS FOR SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL
“I promised myself I would read one chapter at a time, savoring each and reflecting. Well, I couldn’t, I read it in one sitting, like I was there with you, very compelling story! Btw, while you were on 50th Street with confetti and tears, I was on 51st, just leaving after the show when the confetti was being tossed out the office building windows, a couple came out of the theatre and looked about in wonder, I said, “The Mets must have won!” Like so many New York stories, on one street it is raining and the next the sun is shining. You are a brave woman, thank you for saving our home and writing the story, I can’t imagine walking down Sixth Avenue and not seeing that beautiful marquee glowing. The Hall holds claim to such a big part of my heart.”
Belle Koblentz, Former Rockette
“To all my Facebook friends….please support my friend and buy a copy of her book…..Rosie Novellino-Mearns ….I am sure most of you heard and visited Radio City Music Hall…. If wasn’t for Rosie Novellino-Mearns, her husband Bill Mearns and a few others it would have been demolished years ago…thanks to her I can say I was there…good reading for teenagers too….especially if you have a dream, Rosie’s life story is very inspiring all the trial and tribulation she had to go through to be what she is today and at the same time fighting to save this historic building, remember the saying if you fail try, try again, well that is Rosie Novellino-Mearns…….You did it Rosie!!! Frank the boys and I are proud to call you our friend…..Great Book!!!! At a book signing with our friend Gussie of SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL…. A dancer true story…by my friend and author Rosie Novellino-Mearns….get a copy on www.turningpointpressllc.com or from www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.”
“Rosie Novellino-Mearns has a new book out about how she (and some of her Music Hall dancer friends) helped to save Radio City from demolition.”
“Tonight I had the privilege of attending a book signing for SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, A DANCER’S TRUE STORY written by my dear friend Rosemary-Novellino-Mearns. I have known Rosie and her husband Bill for 34 years and have been aware of much of this amazing story for just about as long. I am so proud of my friend, not only for her herculean efforts back in 1978 that resulted in preserving this iconic temple of American entertainment, but for the courage, tenacity, talent, passion and commitment that she has shown over the course of her long journey to bring this true story to the public. I urge everyone who enjoys a compelling read, a true life David and Goliath story, a detailed history lesson, a human drama of struggle and of triumph to put SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL at the top of their summer reading list. The book, published by Turning Point Press, is currently available on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com. Rosie’s example is inspiring and encouraging to anyone who faces seemingly insurmountable odds in fighting for what they passionately believe in and to all creative artists who believe in their work and fight hard and long to be heard. Congratulations, Rose! You inspire me.”
“I’m so proud of my friend-turned-author, Rosie Novellino-Mearns. Her book launch party was a touching success this evening. She’s the former Radio City ballet dancer who challenged the big boys, gathered good forces on her side, and saved one of NYC’s most famous tourist attractions — Radio City Music Hall — from being torn down. Her story is a fascinating read.”
The live Tony Awards telecast from Radio City Music Hall. I always feel like that’s the official kick-off to Gay Pride Month in early June. But that’s just me. There was once a very strong chance you could not have seen that telecast. Or The Rockettes in the hugely popular Christmas Spectacular. Did you know that when he was 12 years old, actor Christian Slater played Tiny Tim in one of the Christmas shows? There was chance folks couldn’t have seen that or anything else at Manhattan’s gem of a location. I watch The Tonys from Radio City Music Hall and think, “Wow…I know the woman who helped save that place from destruction.” When I entered Radio City Music Hall one night in the 1980s for an exclusive movie event, I felt as if I’d died and gone to Art Deco heaven. It’s gorgeous. I was there for the sold-out premiere of the newly-restored and remastered A Star Is Born, the 1954 classic film comeback of Judy Garland. We’ve seen the outside of this building in many movies. Radio City Music Hall is a cultural landmark and a major tourist attraction. It’s called “The Showplace of the Nation.”
Inside is where millions of people have smiled at, applauded and cheered The Rockettes.
On television, millions of people have watched Broadway’s big night take place here.
New York City’s famous location, this beautiful theater was in danger of being felled by a wrecking ball? Yes. If you grew up in Los Angeles like I did, this act would’ve been similar to a corporation wanting to tear down Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, our legendary movie palace on Hollywood Blvd. Here’s a headline that shocked New Yorkers in 1978:
A ballet dancer was on her toes, in more ways than one, and charged into action to help save Radio City Music Hall. Her victory was one of art versus corporation.
And you can read all about it. Rosemary Novellino-Mearns has written SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL: A Dancer’s True Story.
My fabulous friend, Rosie, started out as a dancer in the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company. Over the course of her years and hard work there, she was promoted to being the company’s Dance Captain.
If you watch TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and appreciate classic films, you’ll dig this: Rosie worked with choreographer Marc Platt. He was a featured dancer/actor in two of Rita Hayworth’s best Technicolor musicals. He was the dancer with the glasses in Tonight and Every Night, a 1945 backstage musical set in London during the war. He danced with Hayworth in 1947’s Down to Earth, a musical comedy follow-up to 1941’s afterlife fantasy romantic comedy hit, Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Hayworth starred as the goddess Terpsichore. She begs Mr. Jordan to let her go to Earth and fix a Broadway musical currently in rehearsals. The goddess winds up becoming its star. Platt was one of the backwoods brothers in the MGM classic musical. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
I’m not just writing this because Rosie is a dear friend, but because her publication has merit: SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL: A Dancer’s True Story should be on the TCM website. Besides the accounts of how she rallied folks to join her in the fight to save the landmark, there’s also the story of her becoming a member of the ballet. She tells us about the grueling audition process and the rehearsals and the costuming and the personalities involved. It reminds you of A Chorus Line and the film, The Red Shoes. We read about movie stars and network figures in Rosie’s story as she goes from auditions, like we saw in A Chorus Line, to being a company dancer on the front line in a battle to save a magnificent, one-of-a-kind artistic venue. Not only does she give you the details of the battle, she gives you fascinating technical facts about the Music Hall and a list of all the movies that played there.
When I was kid in L.A., I dreamed of going to Radio City Music Hall. Not only had I seen it many times on TV, my mother talked about the thrill of seeing movies there. She grew up in New Jersey. From 1933’s classic King Kong to Hitchcock’s Notorious in the 1940s, from Singin’ in the Rain, Auntie Mame, Funny Face plus Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and The Beautiful and The Band Wagon in the 1950s, to What’s Up, Doc? starring Barbra Streisand, Robin and Marian starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn and a reissue of Gone With The Wind in the 1970s…all the movies are listed. That’s all in the book. So is a great love story — about Bill, the terrific guy that Rosemary married.
A woman who wore a tutu and toe shoes at work rallied friends, colleagues and media contacts like the late NBC talk show host, Tom Snyder, to rescue Radio City Music Hall. Rockefeller Center was the “Goliath.” A Radio City Music Hall ballerina was a “David.”
There’s book launch party coming up on June 11th. I’m so proud to know Rosie and I’m equally proud that she got her story on paper for us to read. She helped save a stellar piece of New York City history. Heck…this former ballet dancer should get a special Tony Award just for that! Rosemary Novellino-Mearns, dancer turned lyricist and author, is a Manhattan resident who makes Manhattan a brighter, more entertaining place to be.
We can thank her by purchasing the book on either Amazon.com or on BarnesAndNoble.com.
What a story. Only in New York.
If You Want To Know What It Was Like To Save Radio City. This Is The Book!! There Are Many People Who Owe Rosie and Bill A Huge Thank You!! As A Member Of The Showpeoples Committee To Save Radio City I Can Tell You This Is How It Happened!! Thanks Again Rosie and Bill I am Proud To Call You My Friend!!!
Frank Devlin, June 9, 2015 at 3:58 PM
READER REVIEWS FROM AMAZON
By Bruce Michael on July 11, 2015
I just re-read “Saving Radio City Music Hall.” This is a must read for anyone that loves our beloved “Showplace of the Nation.” From 1989 – 2005, I was the VP/Creative Producer of the Rockettes and to this day thank Rosie for heading the Committee that saved the Hall from demolition. For me and the many people that worked and performed at the Hall since its almost closure in 1978 as well as the millions of Music Hall patrons that have since attended the myriad of spectaculars, concerts, special events, and television broadcasts that have graced the great stage, “Saving Radio City Music Hall” is an important document of an era in New York City that saw the demise of many landmarks. I’ll never forget the day that the closure of the Hall was announced. The Roxy and the Paramount were extinct. Rockefeller Center had already demolished it’s beautiful Center Theater. Other great edifices were on the chopping block. Times Square was a mess – the city was falling apart. I shared the feeling with thousand’s of New Yorkers that felt that the demise of the Music Hall would be the final blow to a once great city. It took Rosie Novellino – Mearns, her husband Bill and an amazing committee of dedicated show people to save Radio City. It’s an extraordinary story. Today, the Music Hall stands in the heart of a renewed New York. The city has returned to its former glory. I often try to explain to people the extraordinary Music Hall film/stage show format. People who did not experience that era, have no idea that the Hall was opened 52 weeks a year, 7 days a week with 4 – 5 shows a day. This book brings that all back to life – an important historical document. Rosie’s personal experience as a dancer with the Corps de Ballet is priceless as are the wonderful photographs that grace the book. Do not hesitate to buy this book. After you read it, your next visit to the Music Hall will have new meaning. As you gaze in wonder at the magnificent Grand Foyer and the golden arches of the Music Hall’s sunburst proscenium, just know that the Showplace of the Nation is there because of Rosie’s herculean efforts to save the Hall. A remarkable story! No review of this book is complete without congratulating Andrew Wentink, the founder of Turning Point Press who was committed to the publishing of this book. His collaboration with Rosie has created a book that is elegant and beautifully produced….a wonderful achievement!
By Travelhound on July 12, 2015
Saving Radio City Music Hall, A Dancer’s True Story by Rosemary Novellino-Mearns is far more than a preservationist’s tale or a real-life David and Goliath battle, as the author occasionally terms it. This is a compelling, very personal account of the heroic 1978 battle to save the “Showplace of the Nation” from the wrecker’s ball. Never a champion of historic preservation, New York City is infamous for tearing down so it can build up, literally. The Metropolitan Opera House and Pennsylvania Station are forever lost, and it took a Supreme Court ruling to save Grand Central Station in 1978. When Rockefeller Center, Inc. announced the Music Hall was to be shut down and demolished, New Yorkers shrugged off the news, but Ms. Novellino-Mearns, appalled and angered, refused to buckle under without a fight. Driven by love for a place where she had worked for years as a ballet dancer (not a Rockette, as she makes clear), she waded into dangerous, unknown waters leading to a confrontation with the supposedly omnipotent Rockefeller Center forces. The details of her victories, defeats, humiliations and ultimate triumph are the fabric of this fascinating book which happily includes vintage photographs, a brief history of Radio City and a listing of the shows and films playing there since its opening in December, 1932. This book is testimony to one person’s passion to do the right thing and proof positive that you can not only fight city hall but win. The author, graciously acknowledges those who helped turn her one-woman campaign into a national crusade, especially a Radio Center singer named Bill who became her husband in 1980. As a result of their efforts, they are permanently banned from working at the Music Hall. A petty and disappointing action, yes, but, in my mind, something the author should wear as a badge of honor
Whether you are a frustrated Rockette like me or just love the shows, you will want to read how we almost lost this glorious treasure in New York City.