Rosemary Novellino-Mearns and Bill Mearns to Present SAVING RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL at Episcopal Actors Guild
Rosie headed the group that took on the money interests that had decided to demolish the classic Art Deco masterpiece and one of New York City's premiere tourist attractions. And won!
The highly visual presentation abounds in rare film and photos and is narrated by Rosie, who tells first-hand how the impossible became possible. The event will take place on Thursday, October 6, 7 PM, at the Episcopal Actors Guild, 1 East 29th Street.
All proceeds go to the organization's fund, founded in 1923, that helps actors and performers in need, assisting them with rent, utilities, transportation, food, headshots, audition skills, and more.
The summer show at Radio City Music Hall has just ended its run, 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 in 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, 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!A modest but determined young dancer from Glen Rock, New Jersey, Rosemary Novellino joined the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company in 1966, remaining with the group for twelve years, eventually becoming its Dance Captain and Assistant to legendary choreographer Peter Gennaro. In the mid-1970s, questionable behind-the-scenes changes in management alarmed hundreds of employees, but no one was prepared for the official announcement in early 1978 that Radio City Music Hall was slated to close that April and be demolished. Drawing upon formerly untapped inner strengths, Rosemary refused to let this happen. She became President of "The Showpeople's Committee to Save Radio City Music Hall" and motivated fellow workers, friends, and thousands of Radio City fans around the world, as well as New York and national 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. This "heartfelt and very personal account of that effort," says Book/ist, "provides a backstage glimpse of the drama that ensued and features a cast of characters that includes performers, politicians, the media, and some heavy hitters in the world of New York real estate that will delight readers interested in the performing arts and their history in the U.S." 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 on the shows of Bill Boggs, Tom Snyder, Carol Martin of CBS-TV, and more. The visual presentation has been masterfully prepared by William Mearns, former singer and Singer's Captain at Radio City Music Hall, and Rosie's husband for more than twenty years. Their most recent presentations have taken place in Hollywood at Grauman's Egyptian Theater (May, 2016) and in locations in Rancho Palos Verdes, Glendale and Pasadena.. Following that talk, Rosemary was lauded by Art Deco specialists and historic preservasionists who are currently setting up a speaking tour in California.
In June 2016, Rosemary spoke at The Lamb's in NYC before a packed house of theater folk, and, as always, had the audience riveted by her interesting, informative, and totally entertaining account of "Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer's True Story."