Aiming high, Morristown Onstage 2020 shoots for a Lucky 13th year

SELFIE TIME: Emcee Tara Bernie with finalists at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Sibling rivalries. Family dynasties. Students competing against teachers.

Morristown Onstage 2020 will bring plenty of backstories to the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 26, 2020, when show organizers try to prove that year 13 is their lucky number.

Shining Starz, finalists, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Katelyn Nagy.

We’ll be sharing those stories with you over the next few weeks, with profiles of the singers, musicians and dancers who will compete for prize money and local glory on the big night.

The nonprofit Morris Educational Foundation (MEF), which produces the talent contest, is aiming high, too — striving to surpass the record $175,000 that last year’s show netted for programs in the Morris School District.

“Strong schools equals a strong community,” Melanie Smith, the new chairperson for Morristown Onstage, said at Saturday’s Media Day, a dress rehearsal for 14 amateur finalists from Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains.

Finalists, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove

They will compete before a panel of showbiz pros for $1,000 prizes in youth and adult categories. Audience members in the 1,300-seat theater also will vote for their favorite act, a $500 award. Tickets go on sale Jan. 29.

Melanie Smith, MOS Chairperson, left, and her predecessor, Molly Servais, at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Smith is determined to set a new fundraising mark, now that the toughest challenge — winnowing down more than 60 acts that auditioned last month–is behind her and her team of volunteers.

“We’ll have a good, entertaining show for the crowd, and acts that work well together,” she promised.

“We’re always lucky to have a tough choice,” added Chrissie Wetherbee, the new director of the Morris Educational Foundation.

Tara Bernie, emcee, at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove

TV personality Tara Bernie is back for her sixth year as emcee. Not returning: Any of last year’s finalists. No bands this time, either — though there will be a 42-member

youth dance ensemble. Several musicians will serve up original compositions, also a rarity.

If the MEF’s lucky weather continues (no snowouts!), you can count on a huge contingent of cheering kids inside the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

“It really is the place to be if you’re a middle-schooler,” said Wetherbee.

 

MORE ABOUT MORRISTOWN ONSTAGE 2020

Dylan Sarah Klug, finalist, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Katelyn Nagy
Finalist Jennifer Wydra gives video interview at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Shining Starz, finalists, at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Zion Pearson, finalist, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Katelyn Nagy.
NICE TIE! Finalist Bobby Becht at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kelly Miller, 2019 winner, shares insights on Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove
TAKING NOTES: Finalist Olivia Restivo peruses program, Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove
WAITING ITS TURN, at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Jeff Sovelove
DON’T BLINK! Emcee Tara Bernie with finalists at Media Day, Morristown Onstage 2020. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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