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Posted Monday, December 16th, 2019

Morristown Becomes a Stage; Discounted Tickets Until Dec. 21

First Night logoRinging in 2020 marks the 28th year of New Jersey’s biggest and brightest First Night, a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts on New Year’s Eve.

It’s all located in Morristown: More than 100 artists will take part in 44 events in 16 venues, representing dance, theatre, music, world cultures, visual arts and children’s programs. Two fireworks programs help celebrate the new year.

Warm shuttles, quick walks and heated venues promise to make the evening memorable for entertainment.

More than half of the program features new artists or artists returning after several years. Many acts have performed at world-class venues, won international recognition, performed on national radio/TV, in major films and/or collaborated with superstars of performing arts.

Revelers can experience everything from Korean drum dancers, to a visit with “Mark Twain,” and a mind-reading mentalist. They can listen to award-winning jazz pianists, topflight comedians, virtuoso Chinese instrumentalists, and take an adventure with a pirate queen or watch a live reptile show.

Events for children begin early and feature art, music, dance, comedy and performances and begin at 4:45 p.m.

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete

Rio Clemente

All venues in downtown Morristown are indoors and a free shuttle makes catching performances easy.  For more information visit www.firstnightmorris.com or call (973) 455-0708. Discounted ticket sales end Dec. 21. Children under 4 are admitted free.

Here are some entertainment highlights.

JAZZ: The trio of Ben Rosenblum makes its debut performance with award-winning NYC jazz pianist, accordionist and composer Rosenblum, a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, who has also played Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress.  His unique narrative style connects with his audiences on an emotional, intellectual and spiritual level.

First Night would not be complete without our own Morristown star, the sizzling jazz pianist, Rio Clemente, the “Bishop of Jazz.”

Asaran Earth Trio

Asaran Earth Trio

WORLD CULTURES: Audiences can sample cultural riches from Spain, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, China and Korea at First Night. New to First Night Morris is The Asaran Earth Trio, an all-female multinational ensemble whose unique repertoire ranges from 13th century Sephardic music to contemporary World Music. Their unique arrangements for voice and percussion honor their own varied roots from Brazil, Hungary and Italy.

Korean Traditional Dance of Choomnoori will captivate audiences with their blend of drumming and dancing. The rich heritage of traditional Korean dance in elegant costumes is combined with carefully synchronized gestures, dramatic drumming and movements that convey a wide range of emotions. Their performances relate tales of village life and depict the beauties of nature in visually stunning sequences.

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete

Music from China

Equally entrancing is the Music from China Trio the renowned NYC-based ensemble. The trio’s music ranges from exciting to lovely, featuring classical and folk arrangements performed on traditional Chinese instruments.

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete

Alan Kitty as Mark Twain

THEATER/COMEDY: The Mark Twain Experience, featuring Alan Kitty as “Mark Twain” debuts this year highlighting writer, humorist, riverboat pilot and inventor, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Kitty’s comic timing and uncanny likeness allow audiences to relish Twain’s wit and wisdom on American Life: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete Mentalist Eric Walton, internationally-acclaimed showman, raconteur, and mind-reader, debuts his theatrical foray into the realms of parapsychology, metaphysics, and the paranormal, in which he reads minds, identifies hidden objects, predicts future events, and challenges conventional ideas about the limits of human perception.

Crystalline-voiced Christine De Leon  reawakens the glittering jazz age of the Roaring Twenties through the enduring songs and dances.

COMEDY: Laugh in the New Year with two talented comedians. Rob Paravonian as he seamlessly fuses sharp comedy performances with top notch musicianship. Andy Pitz is a regular at such top New York comedy sites and was a winner on Star Search on CBS and with national acts in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete

Harmonium Choral Society

CLASSICAL: Enjoy Harmonium Choral Society’s diverse programming featuring a Renaissance processional to the rich romanticism of Bruckner and the mysticism of Erik Esenwalds. Classical music lovers will also enjoy the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey which explores great orchestral works from the 17th through the 21st centuries under the baton of conductor/artistic director Robert Butts.

ROCK: The TONES deliver a blend of classic Rock, R&B, recrafting the music of the Eagles, Van Morrison, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Ray Charles and the Allman brothers.

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete

Laura Herscovitch

FOLK MUSIC: Enjoy the artistry of Lara Herscovitch: Contemporary Troubadour. Informed by decades of international humanitarian work, she sings her thought-provoking songs.

Another treat: Mike Agranoff, that category-defying folksinger/humorist whose repertoire encompasses traditional ballads, fiddle tunes, Tin Pan Alley and his own witty pen.

First Night Morris: Sparkling Lineup for New Year's Fete

OMG Bubbles

CHILDREN’S/ FAMILY PROGRAMS: Programs for children are self-contained in Morristown High School and begin early — at 4:45 p.m. — and run until 9 p.m. Children’s events include OMG Bubbles, Art 4 Kids, Fun with LEGOs®, Kit’s Interactive Theatre, Grace, the Pirate, Benjamin Lipman’s Comedy Cascade, Square Dancing with Caller, Mary Moody, Rizzo’s Reptile/Wildlife Discovery and The Children’s Fun Festival.