North Central College of Naperville has distinguished itself by being one of the first educational institutions to take advantage of the release of production rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit show, The Phantom Of The Opera.

The show’s high production standards include the crucial Act 1 finale event where a chandelier crashes from the auditorium ceiling down onto the stage floor.

To effectively and safely stage this effect, NCC’s drama department turned to the rigging experts at Chicago Flyhouse.

Prior to installation, the Flyhouse team conducted a site visit to take measurements and determine the ideal speed of descent, travel distance, and to ensure audience clearance. A mock-up of the effect was set up in the Flyloft, and tested for precision prior to installation at the theater.

The final design utilized Flyhouse’s standard Ziplift 300 motorized touring hoist, controlled via joystick from the control booth, which allowed the operator to control both the quick descent to the stage and the slower ascent back into the house without having to leave the booth.

The hoist itself was installed in a closet in the booth while all the rigging (wire rope, pulleys, safety, and supplemental supports) was diverted through a series of catwalks above the house to the lighting position where the chandelier was installed. The tight catwalk space required the installation of several diverter pulleys to prevent interference with front-of-house lighting positions, and to admit tech staffers who needed to access the space during the show.

North Central College’s professional-level production of Phantom has garnered positive press and raised awareness and support for their arts program.