​Birthday bash a trip back in time

Friday, October 25, 2013

Shelley Koppel
Staff writer

STUART — They knew how to party in the 1920s. It was the era of flappers and zoot suits, jazz and bathtub gin.  You can party that way, too, at the Lyric Birthday Bash Benefit Gala on Nov. 16. The evening will begin with a concert at the theater by the Cab Calloway Orchestra, led by the famed orchestra leader’s grandson, Chris. Then it’s on to the Elliott Museum, transformed into a 1920s-style speakeasy.  Linda Prange is the Lyric’s Director of Development. She is also part of the Lyric’s League of Extraordinary Women and a Few Guys, the group that is planning the event. She said that the fun starts with the concert. There will be fan dancers and zoot suits,” she said. “Chris Calloway enjoys getting the audience involved, just as his grandfather did. It’s high-energy and colorful.  We’re encouraging everyone to come in 1920s clothes.”

After the concert, luxury coaches will bring audience from The Lyric to the Elliott Museum. “Part of the fun is seeing how the new Elliott is turned into a speakeasy,”

Prange said. “We’re calling it the Cotton Club Speakeasy. We’re doing everything we can to give it the feeling of a speakeasy. Alcohol was banned in the 1920s, so they had alcohol in secret places. They were dingy on the outside. You had to knock and give the password. Outside, it was dingy and inside, it was very grand. That’s the fun of what we’re trying to come up with. The whole idea is for it to be fun.”

At the Elliott, there will be lively music, food and “bootleg” liquor and a lot of surprises. Prange isn’t giving any of the secrets away. The seating will try to create an iintimate and cozy atmosphere, in keeping with the speakeasy theme.  While fun is the theme, there is a serious purpose to the event. “It’s a benefit for The Lyric and funds will go into the capital campaign,”

Prange said. It will go for remodeling and renovations and for residencies by artists and other educational programming. We receive no funds of any kind from any government, city or county, and nothing from national organizations that support the performing arts. It’s what we generate.”

Prange has high praise for the committee planning the event. The League of Extraordinary Women and a Few Guys are all volunteers. “This is a new group, Prange said. “This is the first big thing we’re doing. It’s the first of an annual event. We plan to do this each year.” It’s time for all the flappers and fellas out there to dust off the silver dresses and spats and prepare to party. It’s for a good cause and a good time is promised, as long as you know the password.
The Lyric Birthday Bash Benefit Gala will be held on Nov. 16. The concert, featuring the Cab Calloway Orchestra, begins at The Lyric at 6 p.m. Shuttle buses will take party-goers to the Elliott Museum, transformed into a 1920s-style speakeasy.  Tickets for the event are $250 and include a ticket to the concert and party at the Elliott Museum. Sponsorship opportunities are available. 

For more information, call Linda Prange at (772) 220-1942, Ext. 209 or send an email to development@lyrictheatre.com.