Harvey Weinstein Gets the Rockettes Kicking

Associated Press
Harvey Weinstein

The Weinstein Co. chief and a team of New York theater creatives will overhaul the Radio City Music Hall "Spring Spectacular" after this year's aborted launch

When Radio City Music Hall pulled the plug last March on its major new spring show Heart and Lights just a week before previews were scheduled to begin, many in the industry quietly wondered if the $25 million project was history.

But MSG Entertainment, the company that controls Radio City as well as Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre and other live-entertainment venues, on Wednesday announced that the show is back on track for a 2015 launch, with an entirely new creative team in place.

Retitled the New York Spring Spectacular, the overhauled show will be a joint production between MSG Entertainment and Weinstein Live Entertainment. The seven-week limited engagement begins previews on March 12 and is scheduled to run through May 3. Official opening night is March 26.

Warren Carlyle, who won a Tony this year for his choreography on After Midnight, has signed on as director-choreographer, while Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner are on board as co-creative directors.

Read more Rockettes’ ‘Heart and Lights’ Musical Put on Hold for a Year

Paulus staged the hit Broadway revivals of Hair, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Pippin, the latter winning her a 2013 Tony for best direction of a musical. She currently is fine-tuning the Broadway-bound musical Finding Neverland, on which Harvey Weinstein is lead producer. Weiner, Paulus’ husband and frequent collaborator, is the New York producer of the long-running immersive Shakespeare riff Sleep No More. Paulus and Weiner recently teamed on the Cirque du Soleil show Amaluna.

The Spring Spectacular is written by Joshua Harmon, who scored an off-Broadway hit with his 2012 New York professional playwriting debut, Bad Jews. The story of the Radio City show centers on a Manhattan tour guide whose job is in jeopardy when virtual tours threaten to replace the real thing.

"Together with Warren, Diane, Randy, and Josh we hope to create an experience that families from around the world will love as they come and experience all the joys and excitement of our hometown New York City," said Weinstein in a statement.

Read more Harvey Weinstein Blasts 'Finding Neverland' Critics: "They Have No Clout Whatsoever"

The principal creative team on Heart and Lights, director-choreographer Linda Haberman and writer Doug Wright, are no longer listed on press materials for the revamped show. However, many of the key elements of that earlier incarnation remain in place, including representations of such city landmarks as the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While the Spring Spectacular is not described as a traditional musical, the show will include new Rockettes dance numbers, 3D special effects and large-scale puppetry set to a soundtrack of original songs, evergreens and pop hits.

The Rockettes are an iconic staple of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. But the high-kicking synchronized dance troupe has not been featured in a spring show since 1997. MSG Entertainment is launching the new production in a bid to draw family and tourist traffic to what the company hopes will become an annual attraction at its 6,000-seat venue.