Well, this news didn’t go over well.
On Thursday the Trump inaugural planning committee announced the Radio City Rockettes will perform during festivities in Washington next month.
James Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, confirmed the group’s participation.
There is a precedent for that: The famous dance troupe performed for George W. Bush’s inauguration festivities in 2001 and 2005.
But there’s little, if any, precedent for the fact that celebrity A-listers are staying away in droves from Trump’s inauguration.
One Rockette publicly indicated she was not happy about performing, either. Phoebe Pearl vented Thursday night on her Instagram about the upcoming gig.
After the dancers’ union sent a hard-line email telling them they had to participate, or else, Madison Square Garden officials said Friday that participation by members was always voluntary and disputed Pearl’s claim that Rockettes were unhappy.
“For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural,” MSG officials told Broadway World.
“It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.”
Pearl was certainly not eagerly awaiting anything about the presidential performance.
“I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed,” Pearl wrote according to TMZ, which ran a screenshot before the post was deleted from Pearl’s private account.
“The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. We will not be forced! #notmypresident.”
Contrary to what Madison Square Garden officials said on Friday, the union representing the dancers, American Guild of Variety Artists, informed the dancers on Thursday that full-time members would be required to participate. Don’t even think about a boycott, dancers were warned.
“We have received an email from a Rockette expressing concern about getting ‘involved in a dangerous political climate’ but I must remind you that you are all employees, and as a company, Mr. Dolan obviously wants the Rockettes to be represented at our country’s Presidential inauguration, as they were in 2001 & 2005,” an administrator for the guild wrote in an email to the Rockettes obtained by BroadwayWorld. “Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I’m afraid.”
The union rep went on to say that decision had “nothing to do with anyone’s political leanings (including AGVA’s), it has to do with your best performance for your employer, period.
“I will reiterate that if Hillary Clinton was the President-elect, nothing would be different, and there would probably be those who would not want to be involved because of her. It is a job, and all of you should consider it an honor, no matter who is being sworn in. The election is over and this country will not survive if it remains divided.
“Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace.”
The news that Rockettes would be forced to participate against their wishes did not go over well on social media, which is split on the group’s participation. Members of the Broadway community voiced concerns and disappointment, too.
Some people didn’t think it was fair to force the women to dance against their will.
Others said the women should just “do their job.”
The Rockettes join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 16-year-old Jackie Evancho as inauguration entertainment.