Anyone who has visited one of PlayhouseSquare’s theatres recalls the first time they took in its restored beauty. The old-school glamour of its lobbies and theatres. The State Theatre murals. The Hanna’s ornate ceiling decked in mythological creatures. Those chandeliers.
It’s all the more stunning knowing that at one time these theatres fell into such disrepair that they were going to be torn down.
But because of Ray Shepardson - without whom, we would have had parking lots on Euclid Avenue – they were saved and a neighborhood in downtown Cleveland restored. In fact, PlayhouseSquare announced last month that they now have more season ticket holders than any city in America.
If you haven’t seen it or are unfamiliar with PlayhouseSquare’s comeback story, check out the Staging Success documentary:
To match the dazzle inside of its theatres, PlayhouseSquare is about to complete a dramatic transformation outside.
Over the last year, we’ve seen the plaza in the PlayhouseSquare district updated with an outdoor music stage, firepit, and dining area. Beautiful archways (my favorite of the exterior additions) now mark the boundaries of the neighborhood. Digital signs provide information and interaction opportunities for visitors. And a retro sign above the buildings at E. 13th St. and Euclid Avenue pays homage to PlayhouseSquare’s 1920s-era beginnings.
All of these changes have led to the unveiling of the neighborhood’s centerpiece: The GE Chandelier.
20-feet tall and adorned with 4,200 crystals, it was inspired by the stunning chandeliers inside of the theatre. It will be a permanent fixture, connecting the points of the Euclid Ave. and E 14th Street intersection and serving as a can’t-miss welcome for PlayhouseSquare guests.
The massive chandelier was constructed by Montreal-based company Lumid. In addition to looking good, it’s been designed and tested to withstand the harshest conditions (take that, Cleveland winters!).
The frame is currently up at PlayhouseSquare; however, you can be the first to see it lit up in all its glittering splendor this coming Friday:
On May 2, the lights will be turned on at Dazzle the District. This free community celebration starts at 5pm with Taste of PlayhouseSquare, happy hours and live music on the U.S. Bank Plaza (previously Star Plaza).
At 8:30 pm, Nashville’s Hot Chelle Rae takes The University Hospitals Main Stage for a concert.
It all culminates with the GE Chandelier Lighting Ceremony at 9:30 p.m.
I hope you’ll join me this Friday! Admission to the event and concert is completely free. And stop by the blog after Dazzle the District for photos and a giveaway of PlayhouseSquare Dazzle swag.
Get all the Dazzle the District details at dazzle.playhousesquare.org and watch these videos to learn more about the GE Chandelier:
- What it’s made of
- How it’ll be maintained
- How it’s supported structurally
- How it’ll hold up in the winter