PlayhouseSquare has set the date of May 2, 2014 for the lighting of the dramatic design features the organization has commissioned to bring the beauty of its historic theaters outdoors, creating an even more inviting and vibrant destination in the heart of downtown Cleveland. The May 2 event will include a gala benefit and community celebration.
"We hope everyone will plan to be part of the excitement on May 2," said PlayhouseSquare President and CEO Art J. Falco, "While we are not yet ready to announce the evening's details, I will say that it will be quite a special night for Northeast Ohio. You are going to want to be able to say you were there."
Announced this past spring, the transformation will include dynamic video signage, elegant gateways, a retro feature invoking Cleveland's 1920s-era roots and the world's first and largest chandelier spectacular.
Already completed are the installation of a new vertical sign and improvements to the PlayhouseSquare neighborhood's popular outdoor gathering place, Star Plaza, honored with a 2013 Ruth Ratner Miller Award. Neighborhood residents, business workers and visitors have been enjoying the plaza's new amenities: a cozy fire pit, new sound and lighting systems and a beautiful, permanent stage that can accommodate a variety of events, along with DYNOMITE, Zack Bruell's new gourmet burger stand.
For nearly 30 years, one of the most iconic features of the PlayhouseSquare neighborhood was the vertical "Playhouse Square Center" sign. That original sign has been taken down and replaced with a striking new one that also is more energy-efficient. Weighing in at 7500 lbs. and equal in height to roughly 8.5 refrigerators, the new vertical sign uses the same amount of energy required by two toasters.
The experiential design firm The Barnycz Group, led by Chief Creatologist Danny Barnycz, has designed and is overseeing the project. The firm specializes in the creation of unforgettable, large-scale, interactive, dynamic content environments and has orchestrated some of the world's most attention-grabbing projects including the Crown Fountain at Chicago's Millennium Park, American Eagle Outfitter's Times Square Spectacular, LG's Vegas Spectacular, the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates.
"When I first visited PlayhouseSquare, I was taken by the beauty and the history of the theaters," said Barnycz, "but you are not able to enjoy that until you go inside. What we envision is bringing elements of the theater design and history outside in a dynamic, inviting way."
The most dramatic and unique element of the plan is the "chandelier spectacular" at E. 14th Street and Euclid Avenue. A 20-foot tall chandelier adorned with 4,200 crystals in the style of the grand chandeliers seen in the lobbies of the Allen, Palace and State Theatres, will hang right over the intersection, becoming the neighborhood focal point.
"This is the jaw-dropper," said Barnycz. "This is what people will feel compelled to come and see, to photograph. We envision this becoming a true Cleveland landmark."