(CNN)The Madison Square Garden Company said on Friday that the famous Radio City Rockettes dancers would not be compelled to perform next month at President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities.
“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 said in a statement. “It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available.”
Trump’s inaugural committee has so far struggled to book high-profile acts to headline the event. A representative for Elton John very publicly shot down reports the British performer would lend a hand. In 2009, Beyoncé serenaded the new first couple while Faith Hill, Shakira and Alicia Keys all performed at a series of inaugural balls.
On Thursday afternoon, amid reports Trump was fuming at his thin roster, Inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin the Rockettes had signed on.
“We’ve had a ton of great performers, entertainers, and just Americans reaching out wanting to be a part (of the event),” he said.
The Rockettes will join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which will perform at the swearing-in ceremony, and former “America’s Got Talent” contestant Jackie Evancho, who is slated to sing the national anthem.
James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the Radio City outfit, noted in a statement Thursday that the Rockettes have performed at inaugural spectaculars in 2001 and 2005.
“We are honored that the Rockettes have again been asked to perform in the upcoming inauguration festivities.” Dolan said.
But there have been reports of concern among the performers.
According to an email obtained by BroadwayWorld, the American Guild of Variety Artists emailed members reacting to an expression of concern from a Rockette, saying that “any talk of boycotting this event is invalid.”
“We have been made aware of what is going on Facebook and other social media, however, this does not change anything unless Radio City has a change of heart,” the email reportedly says. “The ranting of the public is just that, ranting. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but this does not change your employment status for those who are full time.”
Even with the Rockettes on the program, Trump on Thursday night also used social media to express his frustrations.
“The so-called “A” list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING,” he tweeted. “I want the PEOPLE!”