Marking its 31st year as the Mid-Atlantic’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts, First Night Morris County will feature more than 70 performances at 21 venues (19 In-Person, 1 Live Stream, and 1 On-Demand) throughout downtown Morristown, from 4 p.m. to midnight on December 31, 2022. The event brings art, film, music, comedy, and family-friendly fun to Morris County in the form of a safe, alcohol-free, and substance-free community celebration.
Thanks to its supporters, partners, and volunteers, First Night Morris County provides its attendees with outstanding value and innovative, diverse, and world-class performances, ideal for participants of all ages. This year’s performances see the return of many exceptional artists audiences have come to expect at First Night Morris County, with some great new additions!
“With more performance venues than ever before, this year’s event has a stellar line-up that spans too many genres to list,” said First Night Morris County Chairman Walter Deutsch. “We are very excited to bring back the children and family programming at Morristown High School, and also to welcome back fireworks over Morristown at two points in the evening: 9:15 p.m. and midnight, offering our youngest participants an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent display.”
With the artistic guidance provided by Dr. Lynn Siebert of Morris Arts, the program is well-balanced, offering numerous performance genres: theatre, music from around the world, visual arts, world cultures, children’s programs, and so much more. Mark Boutros and Don Jay Smith’s work to curate the First Night Film Festival, held in collaboration with the Thomas Edison Film Festival, First Contact Film Festival and MCEDA Film Committee, brings more than 50 films for all ages and interests.
For just $25, First Night attendees have access to all in-person performances, the family and children’s activities at Morristown High School, the Film Festival, two firework displays and a midnight countdown to welcome in the new year, PLUS a live stream and on-demand access to 50+ films in this year’s Film Festival, a print program, and a mobile app – all included with admission. First Night attendees also receive complimentary parking and free shuttles.
With the waning of COVID, a full schedule of family and children’s programming returns this year, providing opportunities for hands on participation for our younger art aficionados and their families! Centered at Morristown High School, the family and children’s programming begins at 4:45 p.m. and includes a host of interactive performances, storytelling, international dance, painting, LEGOs, and SO much more.
The schedule of children and family activities includes “Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother” by Kit’s Interactive Theatre, Folktales from Around the World with storyteller Julie Pascual, Square Dancing with Mary Moody, Bollywood and Contemporary Indian Dance with Mani, Fun with LEGOs with Maniac4Bricks, Paint Night with the Artsy Palette, led by artist Patty Darden, the Children’s Fun Festival with Juggles the Clown, NJ Tap Soloists Maurice Chestnut and Jeffry Foote, the Hilarious Hypnotist Show with Mr. Hypno, StoryFaces with Christopher Agostino, and family favorite, Dinoman Dinosaurs! and his life-size inflatable dinosaurs.
This jam-packed schedule of family-friendly events repeats throughout the evening to provide multiple opportunities for family fun at First Night.
This year, First Night Morris is excited to welcome back the tradition of New Year’s fireworks over the Morristown Green, with two displays for all to enjoy. The first display will take place at 9:15 p.m., providing an opportunity for our youngest art aficionados to ring in the new year before bedtime, and the second display will take place at our countdown to midnight, also at the Morristown Green. (Note: Fireworks are weather dependent.)
This year’s visual arts exhibits include the Atrium Gallery exhibit “Through Women’s Eyes” at the Morris County Administration Building. The exhibit opens at 4 p.m. featuring the work of five women artists – Medy Bozkurtian, Isabella Pizzano, Lisa Moran, Kay Reese, and Marilyn Greenberg, and is curated by Dr. Lynn Siebert.
There are also two exhibits at the Mayo Performing Arts Center that begin at 7 p.m.: The Morris County Art Association member exhibit at the Upstairs Art Gallery, and Nina Nemeth’s “People and Places” at the Starlight Gallery.
Fancy an evening at the opera? Look no further than the live opera performances provided by the Vocal Trio of Harmonious Beginnings at the Church of the Redeemer starting at 7:15 p.m. The performance delves into an array of Sacred, Broadway, Opera, and Americana with solo performances, duets, and classic presentations of three-part vocal harmony. The trio features the powerful vocal talents of three dynamic performers: Ted Chletsos, Lauren D’Imperio, and Stephen Lasher, accompanied by pianist Kristin Dabaghian.
Leading off the evening at 7:15 p.m. with the first two performances at Saint Peter’s is one of New Jersey’s leading choral arts organizations, Harmonium Choral Society. Renowned for its richly diverse programming and high artistic level, members of this award-winning chorus, under the inspired direction of Dr. Anne Matlack, present an exciting choral collage.
The final two performances of the evening at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church are courtesy of the award-winning Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey (BONJ), which begins at 9:45 p.m. Join the orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Robert W. Butts, to explore great orchestral music from the 17th through the 21st centuries.
The musical lineup at St. Peter’s Parish House will take you on a trip across the globe, with destinations in the Caribbean as well as Ireland.
To start the evening’s program, First Night fan favorite Random Test Reggae Band begins at 7 p.m. at St. Peter’s Parish House, bringing you on a musical journey that pays tribute to pioneers in Reggae and Soca Music. With members hailing from all over the Caribbean, the group brings a cache of Authentic Reggae and Calypso rhythms in true West Indian fashion.
After Random Test Reggae Band, attendees will enjoy performances from critically acclaimed All-Ireland Fiddling Champion Brian Conway and Kieran Flanagan, beginning at 10 p.m. Mr. Conway is considered one of the best Irish fiddlers of any style.
This year, your destination for live jazz at First Night is the United Methodist Church, featuring the new addition of Winard Harper and His Jazz Group, followed by fan favorite and First Night veteran performer Rio Clemente, the Bishop of Jazz and his Abbotts.
Winard Harper and His Jazz Group will begin at 7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church. Winard Harper studied at the Conservatory of the University of Cincinnati and at Howard University, and he was part of the Young Lions with brother Phillip and members of The Harper Brothers.
Winard performs regionally and has recorded seven albums featuring a host of special guests, including his latest project, Winard Harper & Jeli Posse.
Rio Clemente, the Bishop of Jazz and his Abbotts will take the stage at the United Methodist Church beginning at 10 p.m. A fan favorite and First Night veteran, Rio Clemente is a native of Morristown, NJ, who has performed at the White House, is an official member of the Morristown Hall of Fame, and has served as music director for the Generations of Jazz program of the New Jersey Jazz Society. NJ Monthly magazine named him among its “Top 40 New Jerseyans,” and the New Jersey Jazz Society has named him “Musician of the Year.”
The in-person Film Festival returns, featuring 50+ films at two venues, beginning at 6 p.m. Under the direction of Mark Boutros and advisor Don Jay Smith, this year’s Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Thomas Edison Film Festival, First Contact Film Festival, and the MCEDA Film Committee, featuring films chosen specifically for the First Night Morris County audiences.
With specific category segments for short films and feature films, each having their own performance blocks, most movies are for All Ages, some for Teens & Adults, and one is for Young Adults & Adults. As a bonus, all 50+ films are available on-demand through 4 p.m. on January 1, 2023, via the First Night Morris County website or mobile app.
At 7 p.m., performances begin at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC). This year’s program again includes both live in-person performances as well as a live stream, courtesy of the Mayo Performing Arts Center, which is accessible through the First Night Morris County website and mobile app.
“Once again we are so thrilled to be partnering with the Mayo,” stated First Night Morris County Chairman Walter Deutsch. “The Mayo provides us with a top-notch performance venue, box office, and a live stream for those who cannot attend in person. We are so grateful for their continued support.”
The first performance of the evening at 7 p.m. is Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix, a slapstick comedy dog show like no other. Johnny leads over a dozen rescue dogs through challenging and hilarious tricks as Johnny plays the straight man role in this wonderful family show.
Following Johnny Peers, the John Ginty Band takes the stage at 9:45 p.m. Born and raised in Morristown, John Ginty is a two-time Grammy winner and has spent decades as a session keyboardist and band member for such artists as Jewel, The Chicks, Wu Tang Clan, Whiskeytown, and The Blind Boys of Alabama.
At 7:15 p.m., the Hyatt Regency Morristown Regency Room once again transforms into a comedy club, featuring two outstanding comedians, Buddy Fitzpatrick and Brad Trackman.
Comedian Buddy Fitzpatrick is first up at 7:15 p.m. A regular at all the prominent showcase clubs in New York City, Buddy Fitzpatrick hones his craft night after night. He is a regular on the Comedy Central and has made appearances on A&E’s An Evening at The Improv, Caroline’s Comedy Hour, and Gotham Comedy Live on AXS.tv. He has also appeared on HBO’s The Sopranos.
Following Buddy Fitzpatrick, comedian Brad Trackman takes the stage starting at 10 p.m. Brad has made many TV appearances, including CBS’s The Late Late Show, Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, Gotham Comedy Live, NBC’s Friday Night, Star Search and his very own Dry Bar Comedy Special. Trackman has opened for Dana Carvey, Robin Williams, Damon Wayans, and Weird Al Yankovic.
All First Night attendees will have access to all 70+ performances, provided space is available, along with complimentary shuttles, free parking, a printed program, mobile app, 2 firework displays and midnight countdown, Film Festival, on-demand access to over 50+ films, and the live stream included in their admission price.
- Early bird admission runs through December 21 at $25 per admission, or $22.50 each when purchasing four or more ($90 4-Pack).
- Regular admission pricing begins on December 22 and runs through the event with $30 per admission or $23.75 each when purchasing four or more ($95 4-Pack).
To purchase tickets and for more information, visit FirstNightMorris.com, the Mayo Box Office at 100 South Street, Morristown, NJ, or call 973-539-8008 during regular business hours.
First Night is More Fun When You Stay Over: Book Your Discounted Rate at the Hyatt Regency Morristown
The Hyatt Regency Morristown at 3 Speedwell Avenue is offering a special discounted room rate starting at only $229 for First Night attendees, which includes a 4-pack of First Night tickets and a $20 gift certificate, a $110 value. Book now to secure your room and 4-pack of tickets!
Special thanks to our Featured Supporters: F.M. Kirby Foundation, MPAC, Morris County Tourism Bureau, Morristown Airport, Kraus Marketing, Investors Bank, NJSBDC at Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey Small Business Development Centers, Morris Arts, Withum, Atlantic Health, First Bank, AM Higley, Emerson, Rotary Club of Morristown, BASF, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Morris County Economic Development Corporation, Morris County Chamber of Commerce, Morris County EDA, Tour Masters Productions, VoiceNext, Visit NJ, and Solar Landscape.
Access is included with every First Night Morris County ticket.
About First Night Morris County