Daily News from New York, New York on October 5, 1999 · 7
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Daily News from New York, New York · 7

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
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rr.rrc rrrs r. -i-im rn UUVJ ! 1 1 , , " ;f r p 1 t, ......... 1 : I ' IB ; : K . 1 Lii! ILf, . - HjWl cP Pq fill . u I The interior of and new upholstery at its gala reopening last night. 0 VW 4 Radio City Music Hall looks resplendent in new paint, new art 1 U n-?b RICHARD CORKERY DAILY NEWS Radio City restored, reopened & radiant By MITCHELL FINK and LEO STANDORA DAIiy NEWS STAFF WRITERS A radiant Radio City Music Hall reopened its doors last night after a $70 million face-lift that transformed the aging grand dame of entertainment into the drop-dead gorgeous and classy showgirl she once was. Draped in gold silk, wearing restored artwork like diamonds, the flaws and blemishes of age on her face gone, the storied showcase of music, movies and romance was every bit the Art Deco knockout of old. Her dazzling debut came against the backdrop of a star-studded benefit for the Lustgar-ten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. Showbiz bigs like Billy Crystal, Ann-Margret, Sting, Tony Bennett, Christian Slater and Raquel Welch were at the gala, taped for broadcast Dec. 1 on NBC. Hundreds cheered, clapped and shouted behind barriers outside the hall at Sixth Ave. and 50th St. as their idols arrived in limos and marched in on a red carpet. Spotlights arced through the drizzling night sky. "This is just wonderful, terrific," one woman gushed as she strained to get a peek at hip-hop star Mary J. Blige. "It's like being in Hollywood." Inside, stars oohed and aahed over glittering redone chandeliers, spanking new rugs and upholstery, wallpaper re-created by computer experts and restored artwork, notably the 60-foot-wide "Fountain of Youth" mural by Ezra Winter. "I thought this was the most beautiful theater I had ever seen when I first came here," declared veteran actress Ann Miller, who enjoyed the premiers of six of her films at Radio City. "It still is. It's the creme de la creme." Miller, 76, later drew the evening's longest and loudest ovation for her rendition of the tune "I'm Still Here." An admittedly awed Slater said, "This is a place of history, a cornerstone of New York. It's beautiful, and I'm honored to be here." Actress Shirley Jones said simply, "It's magnificent." Perhaps the only competition for attention the hall had last night was the Mets. Pierre Cossette, executive producer of the television special, promised to make regular announcements on the Amazin's showdown in Cincinnati. But he didn't for nearly an hour, which likely accounted for the buzz of "How are the Mets doing" questions in the packed house. For some laughs, the stars zeroed in on Mayor Giuliani and his battle with the Brooklyn Mu- c li RICHARD CORKERY DAILY NEWS Shirley Jones heads for the party celebrating the rebirth of Radio City Music Hall on Sixth Ave. last night. seum of Art over an exhibit. In his bit, Crystal, clad in a tuxedo from the waist up and Rock-ette-like stockings and heels below, rose hydraulically up to the stage from beneath the floorboards and told the audience that after being in the basement, "I feel like the mayor's art adviser." After the Rockettes brought down the house with a high-kicking number and disappeared behind the new 3,000-pound gold silk curtain, host Barry Bostwick, who plays the mayor on ABC's "Spin City," took a shot, too: "Now that's what I call beautiful .. . not that a mayor is supposed to know about art." The gala evening wound up with Rockettes performing their third number, this time with Liza Minnelli belting out a crowd-pleasing medley of Manhattan melodies that ended with many singing along to "New York, New York."

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