New York’s Radio City reopens after 15 months

Published June 21, 2021
NEW YORK: Radio City Music Hall’s marquee advertises Dave Chappelle’s untitled documentary on the closing night of the Tribeca Festival on Saturday.—AP
NEW YORK: Radio City Music Hall’s marquee advertises Dave Chappelle’s untitled documentary on the closing night of the Tribeca Festival on Saturday.—AP

NEW YORK: Fifteen months after shuttering for the pandemic, New York’s Radio City Music Hall reopened its doors on Saturday for the Tribeca Festival premiere of a new Dave Chappelle documentary for a full-capacity, fully-vaccinated audience.

The debut of Dave Chappelle: This Time This Place, which chronicles Chappelle’s pandemic stand-up series held in rural Ohio cornfields, marked the first time the hallowed midtown hall was yet again packed since closing in March 2020 a shutdown that put a year-plus’s worth of concerts, including Radio City’s famous Rockettes, on ice for easily the longest spell since the Art Deco venue first opened in 1932.

The premiere, the closing night gala for the 20th Tribeca Festival, was seen as a symbolic reawakening of the arts in New York, where many of the world’s most famous stages Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Broadway theaters remain dark.

But after so many pandemic months of silence, that’s quickly changing. On Sunday, Madison Square Garden will host its first full-capacity concert with the Foo Fighters. Springsteen on Broadway is set to resume performances on June 26.

After the screening, Chappelle dramatically took the stage to a thumping beat from DJ Clark Kent and a raucous standing ovation. The comedian paused for a moment to apologize for those who lost someone during the pandemic before signaling a note of revival.

But, man, let’s get up, said Chappelle. He soon after introduced a New York feast of hip-hop acts who performed according to their native borough, including Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Fat Joe, A$AP Ferg, Redman, Ghostface Killah and De La Soul.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2021

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