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Gray Line NY ShowBiz Insiders Tour with Radio City and a Rockette
- On Location

Check out our Sponsors
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Gray Line NY ShowBiz Insiders Tour
(Gray Line NY Sightseeing Tours Website)
ShowBiz Event, Lunch at Planet Hollywood, Radio City Tour
(Planet Hollywood NYC Website)
(Radio City Music Hall Website)
Gray Line Visitors Center
777 Eighth Avenue (btw. 47th and 48th Streets)
New York, NY
1.800.669.0051

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 25, 2007
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com


On a hot, steamy Saturday in August, what could be better than an air-conditioned show, right inside the Gray Line Visitors Center. Carlos Encinias, an actor/singer/dancer in Alter Boyz, at Dodger Stages, and Andrew Dixon, a pianist working toward musical direction, entertained our small group, courtesy of the Gray Line NY ShowBiz Insiders Tour. Tour Guide, Esther, was courteous and informative. The entertainment was somewhat like a reality version of A Chorus Line. Carlos told a very personal story, with a poignant unfolding of his Broadway career challenges, auditions, and past shows, like Good Vibrations. He also told about his Fulbright Scholarship to Brigham Young University for a drama degree, his work on a Disney Cruise, his regional theatre experience, such as Hello Dolly in Westchester and Mamma Mia in Boston.

Carlos sang songs for us that he had sung in auditions, songs lesser known but engaging and energetic, like "Way Ahead of Me", by Peter Mills. Andrew Dixon, pianist for Carlos today, is from Louisiana. He spoke about learning Broadway scores right in the orchestra pit of various shows, like Les Miserables, and then filling in for the pianist, when necessary. Andrew played with personality for today's intimate show, especially in Carlos' stirring rendition of a song from Carnival. Carlos reads music, which helps with auditions, but he occasionally hires Andrew for the rhythmic accents. Carlos also explained his "swing" role at Alter Boyz, as he learned all five roles, plus dances and songs. Alter Boyz is an intermission-less show. Andrew also spoke about an upcoming show in the New York Musical Theatre Festival, for which he is preparing. They ended with "Come Rain or Come Shine", appropriate to today's hazy, humid weather, and Carlos Encinias is an artist to watch, with presence, poise, and a great voice.

Nopen Hadayas and Franz Peters, both from Amsterdam, were the tour guests today, and our guide, Esther, took us for an informative walk through Times Square straight to Planet Hollywood for lunch. On the walk, she explained Restaurant Row, the half-price TKTS booth, and various historical landmark hotels. At Planet Hollywood we dined on chicken salads and sandwiches, and everyone received a black-white frosted cookie. The d├ęcor at Planet Hollywood is based on pop culture film heroes and iconic props and photos, such as airplanes, cars, carousel horses, and rhinoceros heads. This is a fun, fascinating venue, especially for Hollywood buffs and tourists. From Planet Hollywood, we walked up Sixth Avenue to Radio City Music Hall.

At Radio City we were met by Tim, our in-house tour guide, who had dozens of anecdotes and details a minute. He took us on the winding staircases, pointed out the refurbished carpeting, seats, and the Art Deco paintings and sculptures. He spoke about the early days, in the 1930's to 1950's, when movies were shown at Radio City, plus Rockettes shows and live orchestral music. And, all for 90 cents. We witnessed the preparation of underground stages that lift the orchestra, Christmas show animals, and Rockettes, as well as the Rockettes historical hallway, with photos, costumes, and we even met a Rockette from Kentucky in full regalia. I personally happen to love going to Radio City and recently reviewed, at Radio City, The 2004 Christmas Spectacular, Charles Aznavour at 82, and The 2007 Tony Awards.

Tim brought us to the Roxy Suite, a new space for rental for meetings and events, with photos, such as Sinatra and The Rockettes, named for Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who helped found Radio City with John. D. Rockefeller, Jr. and David Sarnoff. Radio City was first a radio station, Radio Corporation of America, and Radio City was opened in 1932 with a stage show, followed by films, shows, and now even award shows and sports, if Madison Square Garden is occupied. Radio City has almost 6,000 seats and its interior structure resembles that of a setting sun and a cruise ship. Our Radio City tour was combined with the ongoing tours there, so there were many guests for this presentation and exploration.

Check the Gray Line NY Sightseeing Tours Website to sign up for the NYC ShowBiz Insiders Tour. Tell them you saw them on ExploreDance.com.

Times Square and Gray Line NY Sightseeing Buses

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


"The Drowsy Chaperone" Billboard

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Times Square on a Hazy Day

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Planet Hollywood

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Motorcycle from "Blade"

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Foot Piano from "Big"

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Planet Hollywood Interior

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Plane from "Top Gun"

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Chewbacca from "Star Wars"

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Characters from Horror Films

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


The Car from "Cobra"

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Esther, Tour Guide, Nopen, Franz

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Music Hall on Avenue of the Americas

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


The Diamond District

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Music Hall

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Radio City Music Hall Interior

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Rockettes Memorabilia

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Rockettes Memorabilia

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Rockettes Costumes

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Rockettes Costumes

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Meeting a Rockette

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net