Madison Square Garden Responds to Outcry Over Rockettes’ Inauguration Performance

News   Madison Square Garden Responds to Outcry Over Rockettes’ Inauguration Performance
 
Officials issued a statement in response to social media outcry from members of the entertainment industry.
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The Radio City Rockettes Carl Scheffel/MSG Photos

On December 22, Madison Square Garden Company, which oversees the Radio City Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, announced that members of New York City’s iconic kickline would perform during the January 20, 2017, Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.

James L. Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, made the following statement announcing the news: “The Radio City Rockettes, an original American brand, have performed at Radio City Music Hall since 1932 and, as treasured American icons, have taken part in some of the nation’s most illustrious events such as Super Bowl halftime shows, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades and presidential inaugurations, including in 2001 and 2005. We are honored that the Rockettes have again been asked to perform in the upcoming inauguration festivities.”

In recent weeks, major A-list talent have declined invitations to perform at the inauguration, citing disagreements with the President-Elect’s political platform.

Following the announcement that the Rockettes had accepted the invitation, members of the entertainment community, including Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo, Will Chase, Lesli Margherita, and Stephanie J. Block, among others, voiced their concern and disappointment on social media.

THEATRE COMMUNITY REACTS TO ROCKETTES INAUGURATION ANNOUNCEMENT

Several reports indicated that AGVA, the union that represents the Rockettes, sent an email to its members stating that Rockettes who were full-time employees were required to perform at the inauguration despite their differing political beliefs or concerns.

AGVA did not respond to Playbill.com's request for comment at the time of publication.

MSG management released a statement December 23, clarifying the situation and doubling down on its decision to participate in the inauguration. It reads: “The Radio City Rockettes are proud to participate in the 58th Presidential Inaugural. For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural. It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.”

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