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Rosemary Novellino performing with the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company.

The Determined Young Dancer Who Saved Radio City

The holiday show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City will soon be under way. But if it hadn’t been for the courageous efforts of one young dancer, Rosemary Novellino and her dedicated colleagues 38 years ago this spring, millions of Americans and visitors from around the world for the past four decades would have been deprived of this impressive theatrical experience. In her book, “Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer’s True Story,” published by TurningPointPress, Rosemary Novellino-Mearns tells the true story of how Radio City Music Hall, an Art Deco masterpiece and New York City’s premiere tourist attraction for generations, was saved from demolition.  After years of struggling with intense, sometimes painful memories, Rosie tells the honest, fact-filled, emotionally charged and often humorous story of how she organized the gargantuan effort to save the Hall in the spring of 1978.   Against all odds and in only four months, she succeeded!

In 1966, a determined young dancer from Glen Rock, New Jersey, joined the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company. Her name was Rosemary Novellino and she remained with the group for twelve years, eventually becoming its Dance Captain and Assistant to legendary choreographer Peter Gennaro. In the mid-1970s, behind-the-scenes changes in management led to an announcement that City Music Hall would close in April, 1978 and be demolished.

Rosemary was determined not to allow the iconic theater to fall. She became President of “The Showpeople’s Committee to Save Radio City Music Hall” and motivated fellow workers, friends, thousands of Radio City fans, as well as media, cultural leaders and politicians to support the cause. As a result of these efforts, the Art Deco palace was declared a national historic landmark, saving not only the building, but the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Music Hall employees on stage and behind the scenes.

Rosemary is now in demand nationwide for her authoritative, informative and highly entertaining appearances in which she recounts the Radio City Music Hall story, accompanied by fascinating photos and clips of TV appearances. The visual presentation has been prepared by William Mearns, former singer and Singer’s Captain at Radio City Music Hall and Rosie’s husband for more than twenty years.