Erin Kernion Spills the Secrets of the Rockettes' New York Spectacular Costumes
July 11th, 2016
by Erin Kernion
Erin Kernion began dancing at age three, and for the last seven years, this Louisiana native has been high-kicking it as one of the iconic Radio City Rockettes. She's currently wowing Radio City audiences in Douglas Carter Beane & Mia Michaels' new Manhattan-centric extravaganza New York Spectacular.
One exciting feature about this production is the stunning costume design by New York born Tony nominee Emilio Sosa (Project Runway, Porgy & Bess, On Your Feet!, Motown).
Read on as Erin Kernion gives us the inside scoop about each of the outfits she wears during the New York Spectacular.
Welcome to New York
‘Welcome to New York’ is the opening number of the show and the sleek red, black, and white costumes are certainly opening number worthy. We wear a short unitard with arm warmers, thigh high fake leather leggings, a fake leather headband, and a fake leather bolero jacket. I feel powerful in this costume and I think it really compliments the athletic movement we do in this number.
Rockin’ The Met
We emerge from a sarcophagus wearing gorgeous Egyptian-inspired costumes in the ‘Rockin’ The Met’ scene. The white and gold really pop on stage and have a subtle flow to them that makes every hieroglyph come to life. The mesh on the top of the costume is custom-dyed to match each woman’s specific skin tone. The look is complete with a headdress, collar, cuffs and custom (for this number in this show!) gold LaDuca lace up sandals—it makes me feel totally regal.
‘Wall Street’ is actually my favorite number in the show! The Rockettes are meant to look like money, so we get to wear sassy, glittering gold mini dresses and the most amazing gold Chelsea boots with a green heel. This costume is finished off with a cloche cap (It was made by molding latex over actual coins!) that is enhanced by hand with individual gold sequins. The caps are custom made to fit each Rockettes head. I feel like a million dollars every time I hit the stage in my ‘Wall Street’ costume!
Singin’ in the Rain
We actually tap dance in real rain in the ’Singin’ in the Rain’ scene. I can’t help but smile in this sunny yellow raincoat, boots, and cloche cap. Each item is accented with carefully crafted pink flowers that coordinate with our umbrellas, which are made to look like flowers. The flowers on the jacket were all individually hand mounted to a strip that is applied to the jacket, which is removable for dry cleaning. All of the flowers on the jacket, boots and hat are waterproof—of course! All of the tap sounds you hear during this number are live—we have microphones in our tap shoes that are charged after every show. Super cool! I love that both the costume and the choreography are a nod to the classic Rockette style.
This costume truly embodies the bright lights and energy of Times Square. We wear black jackets outfitted with 152 color changing LED lights, black fishnet stockings that are individually hand rhinestoned, black heeled boots, and a rhinestone studded fedora. The jackets are programmed to light up in coordination with the music and our choreography and there are 31 programmable cues for the jackets, which are all wirelessly controlled. It’s pretty exciting to hear the audience react to this costume.
Each Rockette has her own completely unique costume for the fashion scene, all of which were created for us personally. This is completely new for the Rockettes and gives us a chance to show off our individual personalities! I adore my costume—the dress is a sheer overlay with a red design. I then wear a bustier with draping and box pleats in the back over the dress and an oversized hat. I’ve never had a costume customized to me before and I feel like it really suits my personality.
We wear a cream-colored tuxedo jacket with a short romper and a top hat—this is your classic white hat and tails number. We strut onstage to an incredible remix of the classic song, ‘New York, New York’ and dance as a seamless unit. I feel such a sense of pride for my job as a Radio City Rockette when I wear this costume. We then have approximately 1:15 to change into our next costume, for the curtain call!
Our dress for the curtain call is iconic Rockettes—we wear a beaded and jeweled dress with ribbons and chains dangling from it. Our fishnet tights have rhinestones that are hand applied and our custom LaDuca’s have a heel that is covered in Swarovski crystals (also hand applied). I feel so magnificent in this picture-perfect finale dress!
You have until August 7 to see Erin Kernion and the other Radio City Rockettes in the all-new 'New York Spectacular'.