Hollywood hits the streets of Cleveland

Katie Couric
Global Anchor

By Alexandra Zaslow

Cleveland, Ohio, has always been rich in arts and culture, but recent developments have helped bring even more life to the city.

When Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric visited Cleveland as part of her “Cities Rising” series, she met up with Matthew McConaughey, who has been living in the city while filming his new movie, “White Boy Rick.”

“The crew has been great; the place has been great to work in for me,” McConaughey told Couric.

Until 2009, very few movies were filmed in Cleveland. In the last eight years, more than 90 movies have been shot in the city.

“We’ve created over 1,700 full-time-equivalent jobs and over $400 million of economic impact,” said Ivan Schwarz, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

Cleveland has not only been creating more jobs; the city has also seen an increase in tourism. In 2015, 17.6 million tourists visited the city, up from 14 million in 2010.

Playhouse Square, the second-largest theater district in the country after New York City, has been attracting tourists to the city by bringing in popular shows —such as “Hamilton” and “The Book of Mormon” — as well as renovating the district’s exterior.

In 2014, Playhouse Square unveiled the largest outdoor chandelier in the world, featuring 4,200 crystals suspended from a 44-foot-high steel structure. Four elegant golden arches now surround the district’s Star Plaza, an outdoor space with new restaurants and a renovated concert stage.

All signage was replaced with energy-efficient LED lights, and new digital kiosks were built, allowing Playhouse Square visitors to see their photos and special messages in real time.

Playhouse Square’s recent partnership with Cleveland public schools has helped young students discover their passions. Together, they launched Disney Musicals in Schools, a program that sends Disney trainers to elementary schools to help put together a Disney musical. At the end of the semester, the students perform on one of Playhouse Square’s 10 stages.

Visitors from all over come to Cleveland to see the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the world. In 2016, 12 million people visited the museum.

“It’s an iconic place that is uniquely for Cleveland,” said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “We’ve made some really terrific investments in our building, all with an eye toward growing the number of visitors that come.”