Instinct Magazine recently received an invite to attend a private press day event for the grand opening of the new LEGO® superstore on 5th Avenue in New York City. I was very excited for the opportunity to see what this iconic toy brand had in-store— no pun intended.
First, let’s start with the prime location in the heart of 5th Avenue directly across from the famed Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and just blocks from Saks 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center. The avenue itself is iconic as one of the most legendary tourist attractions in the world, so it’s the perfect address for the new LEGO destination.
The store pays homage to New York City landmarks and many things synonymous with the legendary Big Apple, all made larger-than-life in LEGO bricks, alongside brand-new, one-of-a-kind immersions and interactive experiences. Fan-favorite LEGO Minif-igures could be seen all over the store. Some larger structures were strategically placed around Manhatten as a marketing teaser leading up to the opening event.
Among the Minifigures were a Cabaret Singer, Classic Red Spaceman, Construction Worker, Desert Island Guy, Gold Minifigure, Girl with Boombox, Hot Dog Guy, NYC Baseball Player, Party Llama, Pirate Captain, Purple Crayon Girl, and front and center—a talking Lady Liberty!
I’ve been to many store opening events, but this one was different. It was special. LEGO is so much more than a retail brand, and it has a much-needed message of hope and optimism to convey to the world. It honors its legacy of being a creative inspiration for both kids and adults and, at the same time, forges beyond with an amplified sentiment of unity and inclusion for modified times.
In a tribute to the resilience of New Yorkers and the world in the face of the COVID pandemic, LEGO created a brilliant marketing campaign entitled LEGO Store: The Musical. For the days leading up to the event, I had no idea what this campaign would entail. I mean, there had been successful LEGO movies made in recent years, so I thought, mmmm did they create a new musical featuring people made of LEGOS breaking into song? Well, I would learn, sort of—kind of.
The LEGO Group set out to put Broadway back in the limelight after an extended hiatus. They assembled some of New York’s top Broadway talent and created a full-on production number filmed partly in the new flagship store as well as the streets of New York. The result —LEGO® Store: The Musical, is a gorgeous Broadway-style number featuring the original song, “If You Can Build It Here, You Can Build It Anywhere.”
Envisioned as “The Ultimate Broadway Revival,” it’s a definite showstopper, and it was terrific to meet the cast, talented songwriters and the production team who brought it all to life.
As expressed by Travis Blue, vice president, Americas Brand Retail Stores at the LEGO Group, it marks a creative reawakening for the city:
“The lights on Broadway may have been dimmed this past year, but the creativity and resilience of New York and its people have continued to shine bright, expressed by Travis Blue, vice president, Americas Brand Retail Stores at the LEGO Group. New York and the Broadway community have always been sources of inspiration at the LEGO Group, where we share the values of big dreams, the love of play and above all, building something new every day. A collaboration to coincide with the debut of our flagship store was a perfect way to showcase the very best of New York.
The LEGO Store on Fifth is the first location of a global rollout of an immersive digital and physical retail experience built on engagement and interactive playing in the world of the famous LEGO brick. The store is two stories and features a first-ever Personalization Studio where anyone can design their own personalized LEGO Minifigure and watch as it’s printed. There’s also a wholly interactive and digital LEGO world, where customers can scan their unique build and watch it travel through Space and NYC environments as they compete in challenges and more.
I felt like a kid again as I browsed all the incredible LEGO products from small race cars and giant Star Wars spaceships to life-sized R2D2, and an entire wall of Harry Potter-themed LEGO builds, and more. We all dream universally but uniquely and LEGOs have always been a creative pathway that allows us — both children and fans to build and rebuild anything they can imagine. With that in mind, what made this store opening particularly heart-warming to was a whimsical sign welcoming the LGBTQIA community in its entryway in celebration of Pride month.
In a very spirited conversation with Travis Blue, I shared that the new store had inspired me to perhaps commit for the first time in my life to build a LEGO structure to completion. I shared, however, my fear that I won’t be able to put it together, at which he laughed and replied, “Well, Corey, you know … they do come with instructions.”
Ha! Seriously, I never knew that. Mmmmmmm, Life-size R2D2 just might happen in my house this year after all. Wish me luck!
LEGO® Store: The Musical stars hold no punches when it comes to the talent who came together to make it all happen, including Tony Award-winning actress Renée Elise Goldsberry (Girls5Eva, Hamilton), is directed by the famed Ezra Hurwitz (NYC Ballet, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Carousel, Oklahoma), with a song produced by Isaac Hurwitz (The Devil Wears Prada, The Secret Life of Bees, Working Girl, Moulin Rouge, Anastasia, Mrs. Doubtfire) and Seth A. Goldstein (The Lehman Trilogy, The Prom) and original music by Michael Mahler (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, October Sky, Hero) and Alan Schmuckler (My Little Pony 2, Night at the Museum).
The performance is choreographed by James Alsop (Girls5Eva, The Devil Wears Prada) and features numerous singers and dancers from the Broadway stage, including: Zach Bengal (Aladdin), Ava DeMary (Matilda, Evita, Billy Elliot), Shawna Hamic (The Last Ship), Joomin Hwang (The Prom, In the Heights), Shereen Pimentel (West Side Story, The Lion King), and John Riddle (Frozen, The Visit, Phantom), among others. The cast also includes real-life firefighter, Lee Garrett, Brooklyn Nets B-boy, Antonio Smith, professional ballet dancer, Maira Barriga, and professional dancer, Austin Goodwin.