The mysterious man cuts the rope, causing the giant chandelier to drop. Chaos ensues. As people scatter to avoid shards of glass, he kidnaps the beautiful singer from the stage.
Although no lives will be lost, dinner guests can expect to see scenes of high drama, including some from the Phantom of the Opera, during Saturday's Partners N Progress Gala Celebration at the Largo Cultural Center.
"Music of the Night, A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber" is an extravaganza one year in the making. The board of directors for Partners N Progress, the funding arm for the Largo Cultural Center, will pay tribute to Lloyd Webber and his work, which includes Sunset Boulevard, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar andPhantom of the Opera.
A 210-pound chandelier will be the centerpiece when the center is transformed into a French opera house. Patrons will be treated to a sit-down dinner in the Tonne Playhouse while singers, accompanied by an orchestra, perform Lloyd Webber music including All I Ask of You, I Don't Know How to Love Him and Music of the Night. The performers are all members of the center's theater troupe, Eight O'Clock Theatre.
For the last three months, Danny Lehan, 34, has been hard at work stringing 300 yards of beads onto the giant light.
Lehan, who completed his two-year term as president for Partners N Progress in May, presented his vision concerning the chandelier to the organization's board last year. He studied photos of various productions of Phantom of the Opera. He sketched a chandelier.
His stepfather, Joseph Swetavage, a building contractor, agreed to work up the wooden base for the light.
His mother, Pam Swetavage, has worked alongside Lehan for more than 70 hours. "I expect we'll be beading for 100 hours total,'' he said.
Despite the gloomy financial times, Partners N Progress is in an optimistic mode, according to the group's new president, Judy Hall, senior vice president of wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Clearwater.
Partners N Progress has already achieved its sponsorship goal for the gala. "We aimed for $15,000, and so far, we've received $22,000,'' said Hall, 59.
Where does the money raised by the organization go? In the last fiscal year, the group was able to create 17 scholarships for the Largo Cultural Center's summer theater camp, keep average ticket prices at $24 (the national average is $55) and donate $20,000 toward theater equipment.
"What Partners N Progress and the Largo Cultural Center does is keep theater affordable for the masses,'' said Hall, who grew up in New York City. "That's the main reason I became involved."
And what will happen to the chandelier? Will it shatter?
Both Hall and Lehan would not comment.
"Let's," Hall said, "keep some surprises for the evening's guests.''
* * *
What: "Music of the Night: A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber"
When:6:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday
Where:Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive.
Festivities: The gala begins with hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction.
Tickets: $100 for patron seating. Call the box office at (727) 587-6751.
What: "Music of the Night: A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber" When: 6:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday Where: Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park DriveFestivities: The gala begins with hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction Tickets: $100 for patron seating Information: Call the box office at (727) 587-6751