The dancer who saved Radio City Music Hall hosts more book signings in L.A.

Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer's True StoryThe summer show at Radio City Music Hall just wrapped up, but if it hadn’t been for the courageous efforts of one young dancer, Rosemary Novellino-Mearns, and her dedicated colleagues 38 years ago, millions of Americans and visitors from around the world would have been deprived of this impressive theatrical experience – not to mention all the other ones in the past four decades.


In her book, Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer’s True Story, published by TurningPointPress, Rosemary Novellino-Mearns tells the true story of how Radio City Music Hall, an Art Deco masterpiece and New York City’s premiere tourist attraction for generations, was saved from demolition.


After years of struggling with intense, sometimes painful memories, Novellino-Mearns now tells the honest, fact-filled, emotionally charged and often humorous story of how she organized the gargantuan effort to save the venue in the spring of 1978. Against all odds, and in only four months, she succeeded!


Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer's True StoryA modest but determined young dancer from Glen Rock, New Jersey, Novellino-Mearns joined the Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company in 1966, remaining with the group for 12 years, eventually becoming its dance captain and assistant to legendary choreographer Peter Gennaro.


In the mid-1970s, questionable behind-the-scenes changes in management alarmed hundreds of employees, but no one was prepared for the official announcement in early 1978 that Radio City Music Hall was slated to close that April and be demolished.


Drawing upon formerly untapped inner strengths, Novellino-Mearns refused to let this happen. She became President of “The Showpeople’s Committee to Save Radio City Music Hall” and motivated fellow workers, friends and thousands of Radio City fans around the world, as well as New York and national media, cultural leaders and politicians, to support the cause. As a result of these efforts, the palace was declared a National Historic Landmark, saving not only the building but also the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Music Hall employees on stage and behind the scenes.


Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer's True StoryThis “heartfelt and very personal account of that effort” (Bookist) provides a glimpse of the drama that ensued, featuring a whole cast of interesting real-life figures.


Novellino-Mearns is now in demand nationwide for her authoritative, informative and highly entertaining appearances in which she recounts the Radio City Music Hall story, accompanied by fascinating photos and clips of TV appearances on the shows of Bill Boggs, Tom Snyder, Carol Martin of CBS-TV and more.


The visual presentation has been masterfully prepared by William Mearns, former captain of the singers at Radio City Music Hall and Rosie’s husband since 1980. They’ve presented events in Hollywood at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre (May 2016) and The Lamb’s in NYC (June 2016.) Since then, Novellino-Mearns has been lauded by Art Deco specialists and historic preservationists.


Now the couple is headed back to the Los Angeles area to host three book-signings and presentations. The first will take place Wednesday, August 24 at 10:30 am at Fred Hesse, Jr. Community Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. The second will be presented Thursday, August 25 at 7 pm at Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale. The final one will be Sunday, August 28 at 4 pm at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.


Photo (top): Rosemary Novellino-Mearns and William “Bill” Mearns in Larry Edmound’s Bookstore in Hollywood. Photo (left): The duo during the Christmas show of 1977, which was when the announcement about closing the theater was made. Photo (right): Novellino-Mearns wearing armor during a protest and being interviewed by CBS. Photos courtesy of The Mearns.