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The Radio City Rockettes will not be performing any of their scheduled Christmas Spectacular shows this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
Radio City faces potential layoffs as parent company MSG Entertainment deals with financial hardship during the pandemic.
Fans and Rockettes dancers alike are taking to social media wondering how the holiday season will unfold this year.
Summer isn't over just yet, but the holiday season is already shaping up to feel quite different this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 season of Radio City's Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes has already been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, and both native New Yorkers and tourists alike are wondering what other traditions are up next on the chopping block.
Fans immediately took to social media after MSG Entertainment, the New York-based parent company behind Radio City Music Hall, announced that the season was canceled due to "continued uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic." The show, which was slated to kick off routine performances beginning November 6 through the first week of January in 2021, has been seen by more than 75 million people in over 80 years of performances, per its website; it's safe to say that this holiday program has dazzled many fans around the world.
— Brooke Valet (@beachyblondemom) August 4, 2020
— Travis Bryant (@travisabryant) August 4, 2020
— Rob Lucas (@RobLucas2) August 4, 2020
A few of the Rockettes themselves took to Instagram to express their understandable disappointment at the news, while encouraging fans to stay safe into the New Year.
A post shared by Samantha Berger (@sambergermoves) on Aug 4, 2020 at 7:27am PDT
According to a company statement, the Rockettes are planning to return to the stage in 2021 (tickets are already actually on sale now), with most of their classic show numbers intact. “We are disappointed for everyone involved with the show, as well as for the many fans who make the Christmas Spectacular a cherished part of their holiday tradition," MSG Entertainment shares on their website. But COVID-19 may also cause some financial strain on the dance company, as the same parent company told the New York Post that it plans to lay off more than 350 people, not disclosing how many of those performers or employees are currently staffed at Radio City. Some fans are left wondering if the company will be able to have dancers return to the stage next year in the face of financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
— diane lee (@dianberly712) August 4, 2020
The show is expected to return in 2021, but financial concerns affecting the production company may put the show in jeopardy.
— j4lambert (@j4lambert) August 4, 2020
New York is home to many beloved holiday traditions, including the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree as well as the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square. The Rockettes' decision to cancel performances due to COVID-19 risks and other concerns has fans wondering what other events may soon follow suit.
— magicboop⁷ (@magicboop) August 4, 2020
Even if the holiday season feels largely different this year, the Rockettes are hopeful for the future. Danni Heverin, a dancer who has previously performed in the Christmas Spectacular, took to Instagram to encourage everyone to stay strong. "We were all preparing for this, but the confirmation of a cancelled season confirms the heartbreak. I know we are not alone. We are in this together. Please, I beg of you, think of others and do the right thing. Wear a mask. Socially distance." she shared. "Looking forward to the next time we can celebrate Christmas time again in NYC."
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