Rockettes-Starring 'New York Spring Spectacular' Takes Hiatus On Heels of Trump Controversy

Madison Square Entertainment
Derek Hough and the Rockettes

The dance troupe recently made headlines over in-group controversy surrounding their inauguration weekend performance for President Donald Trump.

The New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is taking a one-year hiatus, the Madison Square Garden Company announced on Friday. 

The decision comes after a two-year run, as the large-scale theatrical show, which is produced by Weinstein Live Entertainment and MSG Entertainment, kicked off at Manhattan's landmark Radio City Music Hall in 2015.  

“In 2016, which marked the show’s second year, we made important changes to the production with the ultimate goal of creating a show that will become a perennial favorite much like the Christmas Spectacular," read the statement. "While we were successful on a number of fronts, we believe there is additional work needed on the production, which cannot be completed before the start of this year’s show. Rather than showcase a product that is not yet at its best, we have made the decision to take a one-year hiatus, and instead pursue opportunities to broaden the Rockettes brand through significant appearances across the country and internationally, including a USO tour and the 2017 Tony Awards. We remain committed to the production and look forward to the show’s return in 2018.” 

Though the Rockettes are renowned for their holiday season showcase, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the dance troupe made end-of-year headlines in 2016 over in-group controversy surrounding their inauguration weekend performance for President Donald Trump. (MSG told The Hollywood Reporter the decision in no way impacts the Christmas production.)

Several dancers spoke out against the group's inclusion in the Inaugural Ball, including Phoebe Pearl who said the women were being forced to perform "with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts."

The statement spurred public backlash, which was only fueled by a report that Madison Square Garden Company executive chairman James Dolan held a meeting in December telling the dancers it is their patriotic duty to participate. "We are an American brand, and I think it's very appropriate that the Rockettes dance in the inaugural and 4th of July and our country's great historical moments," he said.

Directed and choreographed by Broadway vet Warren Carlyle, the New York Spectacular was the first major new spring show featuring the Rockettes since 1997.

It was also the first time the dance troupe synchronized its kick lines to contemporary chart-toppers, as the show featured music by Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Madonna, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift and starred stage vet Laura Benanti and Dancing With the Stars' Derek Hough.

"I want it to be classic and last forever," director Carlyle had told THR ahead of the show's opening night.

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