Broadway is mourning the recent loss of beloved star Ann Reinking, who passed away unexpectedly on December 12th at the age of 71. As The New York Times once opined, Reinking was “not only a beauty and a comedienne” but “one of the great, dancing assets of the American musical theatre.” Best known for being Bob Fosse’s longtime muse, the actress/dancer/singer/Tony-winning choreographer also found big-screen fame in 1979’s “All That Jazz,” 1984’s “Micki + Maude,” and, perhaps most famously, in the 1982 Broadway-musical-turned-movie “Annie,” in which she shined as Grace Farrell, private secretary to billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney).
Reinking dances her way through several famed East Coast locales in the film, including Monmouth College (400 Cedar Ave., West Long Branch, New Jersey), which portrays both Daddy Warbucks’ mansion and the White House, and Radio City Music Hall (located within Rockefeller Center at 1260 6th Avenue in New York’s Theater District), where Warbucks buys out an 8 o-clock show so that he, Grace and loveable bodyguard Punjab (Geoffrey Holder) can take Annie (Aileen Quinn) to see her very first Hollywood movie.
The landmark Art Deco venue, which has been called the “Showplace of the Nation,” was designed in 1932 by a group of architects known as The Associated Architects led by design supervisor Edward Durell Stone. Industrial designer Donald Deskey was responsible for the interiors, from the ornate light fixtures to the furnishings to the carpets.
Initially envisioned as a live performance venue for large-scale stage shows, the extensive December 27th, 1932 opening night extravaganza, which ran more than six long hours, did not resonate with audiences and was viewed as a major failure. So Radio City was quickly revamped into a movie palace featuring brief live performances at the start of each show, much like what was depicted in “Annie.” The venue soon became a New York icon, a must-see destination for locals and tourists alike.
For more Dirt on Radio City Music Hall from “Annie,” click over to the gallery.