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Less than a week before performances were due to start, the Rockettes’ Heart and Lights show has been postponed by MSG Entertainment because it was not ready for a scheduled March 27 opening at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Designed to feature groundbreaking 3D technology and state-of-the-art puppetry, including a 26-foot-tall animatronic Statue of Liberty, the production has been put on hold until 2015 “because it has become clear that additional work is needed to deliver the unforgettable experience our customers have come to expect from us,” according to a statement from the producers to The Hollywood Reporter.
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“Taking into account this additional time and not having the dates needed at Radio City in 2014 for the run of the show, we have made the decision to postpone this year’s limited run until 2015,” the release went on to explain.
A love letter to New York City in which two teenage cousins explore the past of their beloved grandmother, the large-scale theatrical extravaganza was crafted by director-choreographer Linda Haberman and featured a book by Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife). It had been planned and heavily promoted for a five-week run beginning next Thursday. Given that major city landmarks such as the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Stock Exchange and Central Park were to be represented in the show, cross-promotional tourism plans were also believed to be in the works.
Heart and Lights was to be the first major new spring show featuring the Rockettes since 1997. The dance troupe famous for its synchronized kick lines has long been showcased in the traditional Radio City Christmas Spectacular every end-of-year holiday season. But MSG has been looking for a vehicle to draw tourist traffic in the spring and early summer months to compete with Broadway. According to a New York Times report, development of the show has cost $25 million to date.
The Times also reported that the decision to delay Heart and Lights was made by James L. Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company, after soliciting feedback on the show from a number of friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry, among them Harvey Weinstein, Jane Rosenthal and the theater producer Daryl Roth (Kinky Boots).
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While creative problems appear to have been the chief factor, it’s unclear whether slow ticket sales may have contributed to the decision to stall on Heart and Lights. MSG said more than 100,000 tickets to the run had already been purchased. Financial losses to the production company and venue will be considerable, even if the production does go ahead in 2015.
MSG went on to state that they will announce new dates when they are rescheduled. Purchases via Ticketmaster will be automatically refunded. All other tickets will be refunded at points of purchase.
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