A 3D extravaganza that will bathe one of Atlantic City’s historic buildings in theatrical lighting promises to rival the spectacular dancing fountains at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, organizers say.
Boardwalk Hall will be illuminated in vibrant, pulsating lights when the show makes its debut on the Fourth of July. Free to the public, the show will run twice an hour on the Boardwalk and is slated to become a year-round attraction.
“We think it is the only permanent 3D show in the country,” said Liza Cartmell, chief executive officer of the Atlantic City Alliance, a casino-backed marketing coalition that will pay for most of the multimillion-dollar display.
The alliance gave a sneak preview of the light show Wednesday during a media event in New York City. Many details were announced two weeks ago in a press release, but the alliance distributed new photos and a video Wednesday to illustrate the project.
Boardwalk Hall, built in 1929, will serve as a gigantic backdrop for the light spectacle. Twelve projectors mounted around the Boardwalk’s Kennedy Plaza will beam light and video onto the exterior of the columned building.
“We really want to make the building come to life,” said Sakchin Bessette, co-founder and creative director of Moment Factory, a Montreal-based media and entertainment studio that has created the light show.
Bessette compared the Boardwalk Hall show to the fountains of Bellagio, an elaborately choreographed water, music and light attraction that serves as a centerpiece of the posh Las Vegas Strip casino.
The light show will give “a breath of fresh air to the Boardwalk,” he said.
Among other attractions, Moment Factory created the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show and the sound and light display on the facade of the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa. Most recently, it worked on Madonna’s MDNA cq world concert tour.
Boardwalk Hall, formerly a convention center, now serves as Atlantic City’s main concert and sports venue. Organizers say the iconic building will attract throngs of new tourists as a canvas for 3D special effects mixed with music.
“It symbolizes Atlantic City the best, in our opinion,” Cartmell said. “When people see Boardwalk Hall, they think of Atlantic City.”
The light show will showcase both the history and the ornate architecture of Boardwalk Hall. A detailed mapping of the hall was made so that the show could transform the old building into “a work of art,” the Atlantic City Alliance said in a press handout.
Cartmell declined to divulge the exact cost of the light show, but said the price tag will be several million dollars. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, a state agency that oversees the Atlantic City Tourism District, will contribute up to $2 million. She said that the alliance, a private group funded by the city’s casino industry, will foot most of the cost.
The alliance was created as part of a public-private partnership between the state and the casino industry to boost tourism in Atlantic City. In April, it launched a $20 million advertising campaign built around a new “Do AC!” marketing theme.
Funding for the Boardwalk Hall show will come from the alliance’s $30 million annual marketing budget over the next five years. Cartmell said the 3D display will complement other initiatives by the alliance to draw more visitors to town as Atlantic City evolves “beyond a casino destination to a tourism destination.”
“It’s very cool, and we think it will be a great attraction to add to the Atlantic City experience,” she said.