Yep, they happen, but you the audience member will probably never realize it. Recently a Rockette was about to step on stage when her colleagues noticed that the sleeve to her jacket was literally hanging by a thread. A wardrobe person threw in a quick whipstitch and the show went on.
The Rockettes wear a lot of heavy clip-on earrings. According to this year’s crew, there’s often a little “graveyard of earrings” on stage after a show. Pelicata told us that her reindeer bells were falling off a lot this season for some reason.
And what about the shoes, which arguably take the biggest beating of all the costume elements? The wear-and-tear on them is impressive, and sometimes they don’t survive a number. That’s when duct tape comes in handy, and several of the Rockettes we spoke to had stories to tell about dancing in duct-taped heels.
But these small little malfunctions are all taken in stride. There are “quick change” booths located just off stage, and they are loaded with supplies like double-sided tape, extra earrings, extra tights, glue, and all sorts of gadgets for quick fixes. The dancers claim they couldn’t function without the dressers, the women backstage who help with all the wardrobe changes and emergencies.