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PlayhouseSquare to revamp Theatre District

Theater complex to spend $16 million bringing the 'inside out'

April 18, 2013

By Kelsey Smith

PlayhouseSquare, the second largest theater complex in the United States, is known for its historical theater filled with luxe interiors.

The complex—which draws over a million visitors each year—has announced plans to spend $16 million over the next year to add new signs, gateway arches, digital displays and even a 24-foot-tall chandelier over the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 14th Street.

Playhouse has selected Baltimore design consultant Danny Barnycz to develop a concept. His goal is to “pull the inside out.”Projected image of Theatre District

The Barnycz Group has worked on locations around the world such as Times Square, the Dubai Mall and Chicago’s Crown Fountain at Millennium Park.

However, the elaborate new developments coming to the district are not just a ploy to boost ticket sales. They are hoping that the expansion helps promote artistic growth by allowing Cleveland State students to display their artwork via digital displays and enabling musicians to use a new loudspeaker system in Star Plaza through a computer hookup.

Gone will be the lighted vinyl banners used to promote performances inside of the theatres and the video screens outside of the Hanna Building and Wyndham Hotel.

“I think that it is an excellent project that they are undertaking because it will add to the sense of extravagance that serves theater well,” Jacob Boyle, a junior theater student, said. “Anything that benefits PlayhouseSquare benefits CSU theatre students since we are a resident company. This stands to attract many more visitors, giving us larger audiences… allowing our program to grow in reputation.”

Playhouse, a nonprofit, is being funded through a 60-40 private-public partnership according to Art Falco, president and CEO of PlayhouseSquare. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are contributing a share, along with Medical Mutual. The rest will be raised by philanthropic donations or through naming rights.

The scheduled completion for the renovations is April 2014.