A great feat - Cobb scores economic cultural coup with 'Radio City Christmas Spectacular'
by Stacey L. Evans
November 04, 2013 12:00 AM | 932 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alina Duncan (front) and Joanna Richardson check their makeup and hair in a dressing room at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Rockettes will take the stage in November. (Jennifer Carter/Staff)
Alina Duncan (front) and Joanna Richardson check their makeup and hair in a dressing room at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Rockettes will take the stage in November. (Jennifer Carter/Staff)
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CUMBERLAND - An icon in the performing arts industry is coming to Cobb County this month, and economic officials are energized about the financial impact upon the area. 

The world renowned "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" featuring the Rockettes will perform 27 shows during a two and a half week run at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre beginning Nov. 7. 

"These mega shows have major ripple effects," said Michael Taormina, managing director of the Cobb Energy Centre, to the Marietta Daily Journal. "(Visitor) eating in restaurants. Even down to baby sitters and gas and buying tickets and taxes, you know, all that stuff; it's major. This is like a Super Bowl for the performing arts. We'll draw from other states."

Discussions to lure in the show began in early 2012, according to Michele Swann, General Manager & CEO of the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority. The authority works in conjunction with the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. 

The cast and crew for the show alone will make an impact locally with more than 100 members staying in hotels in the area. But Swann said the draw of the show will cross county lines.

"Our group sales efforts are targeting regional feeder markets throughout Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, so both the direct and indirect economic impact to Cobb County hotels, restaurants and businesses will be significant," she said. 

The fact that the Rockettes, whose previous Atlanta performances were at the Fox Theatre, are making Cobb their home this year is further evidence of Cobb's ascendance in the cultural arena. 

"Being host venue for 'The Radio City Christmas Spectacular' further validates that Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is perceived as a one of the major venues in the Southeast," said Swann. "Because of its design elements, acoustics, state-of-the-art technology and accessibility, the venue is as popular with performers, crews and production managers, as it is with our patrons." 

The Rockettes have been busy promoting their new home and tour since mid-September. Joanna Richardson and Alina Duncan spent several days engaging in community publicity including visiting the Ronald McDonald House, teaching dance to girls at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center of Hope, making numerous hospital visits and greeting troops at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

"To be a Rockette you have to have a sense of camaraderie," said Richardson, a Stone Mountain native who has been with the troupe for eight seasons. "It really is a sisterhood. We have a saying 'once you're a Rockette, you're always a Rockette' because you're part of something that's not just you - it's bigger and larger than yourself. To be a part of that is such an honor." 

If you go:  The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is locally presented by Gas South and will run at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre from November 7 to 23. Single ticket prices range from $26 to $97 and can be purchased at the Cobb Energy Centre’s Box Office, www.cobbenergycentre.com, RadioCityChristmas.com, Ticketmaster or via phone at (800) 745-3000. 

Don’t Miss - A special evening honoring Earl Smith: The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Foundation is presenting “An Evening with The Rockettes” honoring Earl Smith on Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, an opportunity to have a photo taken with one of the Rockettes and the best seats in the house for the 7:30 p.m. performance. Proceeds will benefit ArtsBridge. For additional information contact Barbara Kiss at (770) 916-2801 or bkiss@cobbenergycentre.com.

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