The Power of Rock, a 12-minute film by Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director who died of cancer and heart disease in April, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening this weekend at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
“This is a milestone moment in our transformation of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” said Greg Harris, President and CEO of the Hall. “The Power of Rock Experience brings all of us closer to the inductees, engages fans and connects with audiences of all generations.”
Opening this Saturday, the Power of Rock Experience is a three-part exhibit, with Demme’s short as the centerpiece. The first part, on a suspended bridge outside the Hall’s Connor Theater, features a digital screen and speakers reading off “an informal roll call of some of the world’s greatest performers,” per the Hall.
Once inside the 130-seat Connor Theater, visitors view the 12-minute Demme film of highlights from 30 years of Rock Hall onstage moments — projected on five moving screens, with concert lighting, lasers, fog effects and under-seat speakers designed to “immerse fans in the sights and sounds of induction ceremony performances.”
The film features footage of Rock Hall induction ceremonies of such performers as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Joan Jett, U2, Blondie, Metallica, Green Day and many others. Some rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia featured in the film will be on display including a Prince outfit, Berry’s clothers, a bass guitar played by Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and a guitar owned by Metallica’s James Hetfield.
In the third, interactive segment of the exhibit, visitors move to story booths where they can interact with pre-recorded inductees like Smokey Robinson, Alice Cooper, Michelle Phillips and others, with the results shareable on social media.
The Power of Rock Experience is a central element of the Hall’s largest renovation in its 21 years. The new theater, home to the Demme film, was funded in part by a $9 million contribution from donors Chris and Sara Connor, with the Hall kicking in $5 million for renovations.