Cleveland's Playhouse Square "Dazzle The District" event can be seen as the accumulation of years of work, which came to a climax at the huge outdoor party on the evening of May 2, 2014. Playhouse Square, as the second largest theater district in the country, was already a significant destination. The new outdoor elements further define Playhouse Square as a Cleveland highlight.
For us, "Dazzle The District" really started a few weeks before the lighting ceremony! We were fortunate to attend Flashdance - The Musical at the Palace Theatre on April 11, 2014, and thus were able to get an advance look at what was going to become the largest outdoor chandelier in the world. Here are some of our @sos_jr tweets and retweets from the time of the visit. The photos in the tweets show the new chandelier frame before the crystals were attached.
Dazzle The District
Dazzle The District was promoted as a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it lived up to and surpassed expectations! The 19,740 people who attended were truly a part of history. We were moved to see so much pride in Cleveland. It was amazing to see this huge crowd of people smiling, laughing, and dancing in the street!
There was so much entertainment that evening, that it would be easy to lose track of it all. Here is the list we are able to generate, thanks to Playhouse Square's great Dazzle The District News & Media web page:.
Larry Morrow, the Voice of Dazzle the District
Sarah Savelli's Cleveland Tap Crew
Dee Roscioli (@Deeroscioli)
In addition to the performers, as you look at our photos, videos, and tweets, please note these new design elements presented at Dazzle The District (the following is from Playhouse Square's press release, but we added links/videos for more information):
- GE Chandelier: The centerpiece of the plan is the world's largest outdoor chandelier, designed in the style of the grand chandeliers seen in PlayhouseSquare's lobbies. Suspended 44 feet in the air (a little more than twice the height of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.) and adorned with more than 4,200 crystals, the GE Chandelier is 20-feet tall and graces the intersection of East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue. Each crystal has been added to the chandelier by hand, a process that takes 20 minutes to complete for each piece.
- Retro Sign: When the Palace Theatre opened in 1922, the Keith Building (in which the theater is located) was the tallest building in downtown Cleveland. The "stick-built" sign on top of the building was the largest electrical sign in the world. Our new retro sign (situated atop the Cowell & Hubbard and Woolworth buildings) is a nod to our 1920s-era roots, evoking the feel of that Keith Building sign. Rising to a height of 44 feet, the retro sign features 9-foot tall letters and 900 3-inch LED bulbs.
- Welcoming Gateways: Four elegant gateways define the PlayhouseSquare neighborhood, creating a feeling of anticipation as you arrive at a destination guaranteed to inspire. Each gateway, 35-feet tall at its highest point, is the equivalent of four city buses stacked one on top of another.
- Improved Outdoor Experience: The perfect place for casual meetings, relaxation and entertainment, Star Plaza, now U.S. Bank Plaza, has been refreshed with a stage for concerts, lectures and more; new lighting; a new sound system; and a cozy fire pit. Dynomite, a new dining experience by Cowell & Hubbard's Zack Bruell, features gourmet burgers, wine and beer.
- Architectural Lighting: Several buildings have received architectural lighting treatments to create a glowing nightly ambience. Look for Parisian-style lighting on the Hanna Building and Wyndham Hotel.
- Blade Sign: The Playhouse Square "blade" sign replaced the similarly shaped "Playhouse Square Center" sign on the Loew's building. The new version, though larger, is much more energy-efficient. It runs off the same amount of energy as two toasters. You can watch a video of the old sign coming down and the new one going up on PlayhouseSquare's YouTube channel.
- University Hospitals Clock: The elegant University Hospitals Clock, more than 15 feet tall, graces Star Plaza.
- Active and Engaging Signage: A digital signage network above and at pedestrian level creates movement, interaction with viewers, color and vibrancy throughout the neighborhood. Engaged users may see their own images, special messages and visual art as it is being created. The network includes four elements: marquees, news tickers, sidewalk kiosks and the "stylon."
- Marquees: Prior to PlayhouseSquare's dramatic makeover, the Allen, Ohio and State marquee uprights required vinyl signage that was expensive and difficult to change. The new marquees use LED technology that's easily changeable and more environmentally friendly. And for the first time since the theaters were renovated, the Palace has its own marquee upright!
- News Tickers: The news tickers on the Hanna and Idea Center buildings have been upgraded with more dynamic, energy-efficient LED technology.
- Sidewalk Kiosks: Placed throughout the neighborhood along Euclid Avenue and East 14th Street, the seven 8-foot-tall kiosks feature LCD modules on both sides. Griffins, which can be found throughout the PlayhouseSquare theaters, adorn the top of each kiosk.
- Stylon: A term coined by project designer Danny Barnycz, the 30-foot-tall stylon is a "pylon with style." Featuring LED video panels on both sides, the stylon is topped with a hand-carved sculpture and surrounded by a decorative wrought-iron fence.
Our Photos & Videos
Our Tweets & Retweets
Playhouse Square did a great job encouraging attendees to share their pictures and impressions via Twitter at Dazzle The District. As people shared their photos, the tweets were displayed on large screens at the event -- very impressive. It was one of the best uses of social media of any event that we have attended in Cleveland. We recommend looking at all that was shared using the #DazzleCLE hashtag.
Here are our @sos_jr tweets and retweets:
SMITTEN...in cleveland: Dazzle the District with PlayhouseSquare http://t.co/yeqgnvBdVE— smitten in cleveland (@smittenincle) April 30, 2014
Chandelierious! Dazzle the district lights the way to new era for Playhouse Square http://t.co/ntpEOQ5tZ3— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) May 3, 2014
@MaryLeeS Yes, it was a great announcement to start the evening!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. (@sos_jr) May 3, 2014
Past Blog Posts
We have written other blog posts about events that we have attended at Playhouse Square. We also use Twitter to mention events we attend. Now, in addition to seeing the great shows at the indoor venues, we look forward to participating in more outdoor events at Playhouse Square.