Greater Morristown weekend preview: First Night Morris turns 21…join the party!

George party on!

A flavor of First Night Morris

Our post-Christmas preview is a little lighter than usual, as Greater Morristown catches its collective breath in anticipation of the holiday grand finale: First Night Morris 2013.

George party on!It’s a New Year’s Eve with something for everyone. From American roots to Zydeco, virtually every musical genre will be showcased in Morristown on Monday, Dec. 31, during a family-friendly evening guaranteed to start your new year with a gigantic smile. And the entertainment is not limited to music.

We also can highly recommend Trout Fishing in America, a wildly inventive duo being presented on Friday, Dec. 28, in Morris Township by the Folk Project.

Details about these events and more are below; for additional activities, check out our handy calendar.  In the meantime, let us add one more thing…

Happy New Year!

THURSDAY, DEC. 27, 2012:

From Nickelodeon’s Shining Time Station and Fred Penner’s Place, balloon artist Allyn Gooen fills the Bickford Theatre in Morris Township with extraordinary balloons on a colorful Journey to Candy Land, at 11 am and 1:30 pm. Admission is $12. The Bickford is at 6 Normandy Heights Road. Call  973-971-3706 for more details.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey concludes its 50th season with Trelawny of the Wells, by Arthur Wing Pinero. Director Bonnie J. Monte presents this romantic comedy about 19th-century British stage life as her “love letter” to all the actors who have appeared at the Shakespeare Theatre during the last half century. Shows at 2 pm and 8 pm, with five more performances through Sunday. Tickets $44-$48.  At the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre at Drew University, at 36 Madison Ave. in Madison. Call 973-408-5600 for more details.

Quick-change actors Jim Ligon and Michael Irvin Pollard play 22 characters in A Tuna Christmas, at 7:30 pm at the Bickford Theatre in Morris Township. This comic production is co-produced with the Playwrights Theatre of Madison. Additional performances on Friday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm.  Reserved seats are $45 for the general public, $40 for senior citizens, $38 for Morris Museum and Bickford Theatre Guild members, and $20 for students (18 or under or with valid college ID). Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Call 973-971-3706 for more details. The Bickford is at 6 Normandy Heights Road.

Don’t forget to vote in the First Night 2013 Battle of the Bands!  Six acts are vying for top honors–which includes a $250 prize and instruction at Morristown’s Original Music School. You can watch video clips of the performers–teens and young adults who hail from Greater Morristown and Princeton–and cast your ballot at the link above. The top four bands will play at First Night Morris on New Year’s Eve.

Battle of the Bands logo 2013


Trout Fishing in America
Trout Fishing in America

The Folk Project presents a special concert at 8 pm: Trout Fishing in America brings its smart, funny, tuneful bag of songs to the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, at 21 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. Trout Fishing pairs 6-foot-9 Ezra Idlet on guitar with 5-foot-5 (and 1/2) Keith Grimwood on bass.

“The power of their music,” according to the Folk Project, “is that they write kids’ songs that grownups can share without feeling embarrassed or lowbrow. And they write grown-up songs that don’t bore kids.”  Admission: $20 at the door. Minstrel special passes are not valid for this concert.



Winter Vacation Day Workshops for kids are offered at noon at the Morris Museum in Morris Township. Prepare for New Year’s Eve by making a glitzy ball. Cost: $3 per child, plus museum admission.  At 6 Normandy Heights Road. Call 973-971-3700 for more.


Ever wonder what items Revolutionary soldiers carried throughout the war? A Park Ranger at the Wick House at Jockey Hollow will help you discover what would have been inside a soldier’s knapsack. Talks at 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm. For more details about the Morristown National Historical Park, call 973-539-2016 x 210


Rising Nashville stars Cia Cherryholmes and Stetson Adkisson join a strong lineup at First Night Morris 2013.
Rising Nashville stars Cia Cherryholmes and Stetson Adkisson join a strong lineup at First Night Morris 2013.

First Night Morris celebrates its 21st anniversary on New Year’s Eve with nearly 80 performances at venues across downtown Morristown, punctuated by two fireworks shows above the historic Green.

Top acts from virtually every musical genre will play during this alcohol-free evening, which starts at 7 pm.

There will be comedy, too, and kids acts, and even a reptile show and flea circus.  Admission badges are $25, or $90 for a four-pack,  available online or at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

Guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola is among the great performers coming to First Night Morris.

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Copyright 2012