MPAC kicks off Silver Season with true American Idol, Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee opens Season 25 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Photo by Katharine Boyle
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By Tyler Barth

The 25th season of the Mayo Performing Arts Center began with a true American idol.

Katharine McPhee at MPAC, opening night 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle

Highlighting the Morristown theater’s opening night was Katharine McPhee. McPhee, of Los Angeles, who stole the hearts of the American public on the fifth season of American Idol in 2006, where she finished as runner-up.

The former Smash star’s performance included Someday, Somewhere, Somehow by Billy Ray Cyrus and I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra.

McPhee said she felt humbled to appear at this milestone event. The audience roared throughout the evening at her banter, which at one point even included a call her husband, music producer David Foster, who she serenaded.

Ice Sculpture greets patrons to Season 25 opener at MPAC. Photo by Katharine Boyle

About 1,100 people came out for the season opener, said Julie Dwoskin, office manager at MPAC. They were greeted by a large ice sculpture of the number 25, carved by Esposito’s Ice and Party Rentals in Morris Plains.

The theater serves about 250,000 guests each year, said MPAC President Allison Larena, who recounted for the audience how the community in 1994 rescued a run-down facility and transformed it into an entertainment showcase that generates about $15 million a year for the regional economy.

Katharine McPhee, MPAC opening night 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle

“The community really, like, came together to build the venue, and to see it now, and what it is for the town, is amazing,” Dwoskin said.

“It’s a great place to come together, where you can see live theater and live events,” said Charles Santoro, music director of MPAC’s spring musicals.

Before McPhee went on stage, a pair of teen performers, Cole Grey of New York and Meghan Jenkins of Bridgewater, put on a short show.
The teens performed Brand New You by Arianna Grande and This Is Me from The Greatest Showman.

The two have performed several times at MPAC and have auditioned for Broadway shows.

OPENING ACT: Meghan Jenkins and Cole Grey at MPAC Season 25 opening night. Photo by Katharine Boyle

MPAC’s 2019-20 season will include shows such as STOMP, Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Scared Scriptless, and William Shatner Live.

Katharine McPhee, MPAC opening night 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
One for the record books: MPAC opens Season 25, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle.
MPAC President Allison Larena welcomes crowd to Silver Anniversary opening night, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
Crowd arrives for Silver Anniversary opening night, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
Audience settles in for Silver Anniversary opening night, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
‘Welcome to Season 25!’ MPAC kicks off its Silver Anniversary, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
Patrons check schedule for MPAC Silver Anniversary, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
Katharine McPhee at MPAC’s Silver Anniversary opening night, Sept. 13, 2019. Photo by Katharine Boyle
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