Poof! First it’s gone. Then it’s back again.
In little more than eight minutes, Boardwalk Hall will crumble and vanish, only to magically reappear after a giant curtain of light is lifted.
A pulsating, 3-D light show featuring some sophisticated Hollywood-style special effects will make it seem that the historic Atlantic City building is being destroyed and resurrected.
Click here to see a test of show.
Free to the public, the 3-D show is one of the centerpieces of a Fourth of July celebration that will include a $150,000 fireworks display, billed as the largest in New Jersey. Organizers say the holiday extravaganza is expected to draw throngs of tourists from throughout the Northeast, along with crowds from neighboring shore communities.
Fireworks will be shot from a barge near The Pier Shops at Caesars starting at 9:30 p.m. and should be visible for two miles along the Boardwalk and beaches. The show is being created by the internationally acclaimed Grucci family, one of the top names in the fireworks industry.
The 3-D show will make its debut at about 10:20 p.m., following the fireworks display and a free open-air Boardwalk concert by performing artist Kevin Rudolf. Viewing areas will be the beaches and Boardwalk’s Kennedy Plaza, directly in front of Boardwalk Hall.
“We’re just hoping there will be enough viewing area to see it all,” Liza Cartmell, chief executive officer of the Atlantic City Alliance, a casino-financed marketing coalition, said of the expected heavy turnout at Kennedy Plaza.
Boardwalk Hall’s facade will serve as a sprawling backdrop for the 3-D show, which will become a year-round attraction costing more than $3 million. The idea is to create more tourist attractions to broaden Atlantic City’s appeal beyond casino gambling.
The alliance, which has a $30 million annual marketing budget at its disposal, hopes the 3-D display will set the stage for summer and continue to drive tourist traffic after Labor Day, when business traditionally slows down.
“What we’re trying to do is to get more people in the Northeast to come here during the off-season,” Cartmell explained.
Boardwalk strollers will get a sneak preview of the 3-D show during tests at 10 p.m. each night, leading up to the Fourth of July celebration. Theatrical lighting, video and music will blend together in what promises to be a dazzling multimedia spectacle.
The light show has been created by Moment Factory, a Montreal-based media and entertainment studio. Moment Factory has done projects for Cirque du Soleil, Jay-Z, Disney, Celine Dion, Microsoft and Madonna’s MDNA worldwide concert tour.
The Boardwalk Hall show will run twice per hour and lasts 8½ minutes. Plans call for making the hall’s colonnaded exterior “come alive” using lights, sound boxes and video projectors.
Boardwalk Hall now serves as the city’s main concert venue and sports arena. When the hall was built as a convention center in 1929, inscriptions were carved into the limestone exterior, summarizing the building’s commitment to recreation, social progress and industrial achievement. The 3-D show will celebrate those characteristics, as well as Atlantic City’s history.
The opening sequences make it seem that Boardwalk Hall is cracking and crumbling — then it disappears altogether. Vibrant lights and geometric shapes dance to and fro in homage to the building’s ornate architecture.
Boardwalk Hall then reappears amid a more relaxing backdrop that Cartmell described as an “under the sea kind of feel.” However, the next sequence is a frenetic scene of brilliant light and surreal imagery. Finally, a huge curtain of light rises and then drops to dramatically reveal Boardwalk Hall in its original form.
Jeff Guaracino, a spokesman for the Atlantic City Alliance, said crews will film the Fourth of July light show and promote it worldwide using social media. The alliance, which is sharing the cost of the show with the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, also plans to incorporate the 3-D display in an Atlantic City advertising campaign.
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