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