Kathleen Laituri grins at herself in the mirror, resting her chin on her right hand. She's in The Rockettes' dressing room, wearing a sequined holiday costume.
Kathleen Laituri; photo courtesy of The Rockettes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And with that, we have a sweet story to share with you:

On August 18, 2017, during The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Musical Theatre Dance Program, Madison Embrey captured this special moment of Kathleen Laituri getting a phone call from The Radio City Rockettes letting her know that she had been selected to dance with them.

Kathleen Laituri cries tears of joy after receiving the call that she was selected to be a Radio City Rockette. She stands outside at Jacob's Pillow and is surrounded by other dancers in the 2017 Musical Theatre Dance program.
Surrounded by dancers from the 2017 Musical Theatre program, Kathleen Laituri celebrates learning she will be a Rockette; photo taken by Madison Embrey

In Kathleen’s perspective:

My Rockettes audition process was quite the whirlwind! Jacob’s Pillow kindly allowed me to miss a small amount of the musical theater intensive I was attending there in order to travel to New York and complete my audition. 

My dad was a superhero. He picked me up late at night at Jacob’s Pillow following the conclusion of one of our jammed packed intensive days. He drove me through the night to make it to New York City. On very little sleep, I walked into the large rehearsal hall at Radio City Music Hall and completed two days of auditions, an initial open call and then a callback the next day. The audition is comprised of different combinations showcasing technique, performance quality, work ethic, and proficiency in jazz, tap, and ballet. 

Kathleen Laituri; photo courtesy of The Rockettes

Following the audition, my dad drove me all the way back to Jacob’s Pillow where I immediately hopped into a rehearsal learning the material I had missed while I was gone. Two days later, on a break between two of my classes I got a call that changed my life. I was offered a contract to dance for the Radio City Rockettes. I was surrounded by my whole Jacob’s Pillow family when I received the call. These people were dancers from all over the world that I had only met two weeks prior, but through our musical theater intensive at the Pillow, had become like family.

This meant so much for me. It meant I got to be a part of a line and legacy of strong women who have been performing since 1933 and an essential Christmas tradition for so many families. It also meant that I could financially support myself and remain living in New York City while completing my senior year of school. For a while, I wasn’t sure I would be able to gather the funds to remain in the city and work toward my dreams. 

This experience was a moment I will remember forever. 

The School at Jacob’s Pillow Musical Theatre program will return in Summer 2022. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.

Kathleen Laituri stands with her back to the camera. Her hands are on her hips as she looks upward and extends her left leg long. She faces the empty Radio City Music Hall.
Kathleen Laituri; photo courtesy of The Rockettes

Written by Gillian Ebersole. Published December 2021.

Editor’s Note: As of December 17, 2021, Radio City Music Hall has made the decision not to continue this year’s run of its annual Christmas Spectacular, citing “increasing challenges from the pandemic” (read more here). We’re glad Kathleen has been able to go on stage with the Rockettes for the past seven weeks of this run, and we’ll look to see her again in 2022!