A select lucky group of Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre Majors got to perform in the ceremony to light the new outdoor chandelier on Playhouse Square in Cleveland Friday May 2, 2014. It's the largest outdoor crystal chandelier in the world with thousands of shining crystals each hand polished for 15 minutes. It's all a part of a huge effort to revitalize and renew Playhouse Square, the second largest theatre district outside of NYC, and I can attest it was a huge success. The event was named Dazzle The District or #DAZZLECLE.
Eighteen BW music theatre students from the cast of Carrie and a few others were asked to get together and rehearse for the Dazzle event. We didn't really know much more than that or how extensive the process would end up being but it was all worth it. We were told that the choreography would be to Fall Out Boy's song "Light Em Up" obviously in regards to the lighting of the chandelier. We DIDN'T know however that this would mean practically double timing the original choreo and doing our own recording of the song. All together we rehearsed a couple days a week for about two weeks and had the dance looking tight and hard-hitting. The next step was to get in a recording studio to actually record the ensemble of us singing Light Em Up. Our fearless leader Greg Daniels brought us to the IDEA Center downtown last Tuesday? to record in a new beautiful studio so that the Dazzle coordinators could put our track to the dance at the live performance while we would lip sync. Mind you the only reason we pulled a "Britney Spears" as I call it was because there was no way to mic us while we danced because we could have killed it dancing and singing if we had to. After costume fittings and more rehearsals, it was time to Dazzle the District on Friday night. We left at 4:30 to get to downtown for a 6 o'clock call because of traffic for Dazzle, the Tribe game, AND the Cher/Cyndi Lauper concert; quite a night for Cleveland! When we got there Euclid and 14th street around Playhouse Square were already packed with enthusiastic Clevelanders ready to see the spectacle of lighting the chandelier. There were street vendors everywhere with dogs, mac and cheese, gourmet french fries, and basically any kind of fatty food perfect for a massive block party. Were they prepared to host the 20,000 people that showed up? Who knows, but I was not.
After waiting, warming up and giggling with Greg and Vicky for hours it was time for the BWMT's to dazzle around 9:30. We were last of four different groups of local performers like the North Coast Men's Chorus, and a young Cleveland tap squad. The hype was insane because people had crowded all around the stage that was big enough for a concert in Rockefeller Plaza for the Hot Chelle Rae concert that took place before we performed. When it came time for "Light Em Up," my friends and I squealed and wished each other luck with the shared realization that this was about to be insane. And that it was. I cannot describe the feeling of performing in front of 20,000 human beings, but it is something I will never forget. Every single one of us on that stage was LIVING during the short but exhausting 2 minute performance. Everything we had was left out there and the streets of people went wild when we finished. As jaded as some of us were about rehearsing for something else this year it was truly an experience I'd never trade for a little more free time. Even crazier I found out from excited moms at home that we were on multiple news channels and that I personally had come on the jumbotron by the stage several times! A wild night with some amazingly talented people honoring an amazing addition to the shining gem that is Playhouse Square.