By Tyler Barth
Singer Olivia Restivo is so good, she doesn’t even need any music.
At Morristown Onstage next month, the 26-year-old Morristown resident will sing an a cappella version of Nothing But The Water by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Restivo will compete against 14 other amateur acts from Greater Morristown for cash and glory on Feb. 26, 2020, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
More than 60 acts tried out for Morristown Onstage, a benefit for programs in the Morris School District. The talent show now is in its 13th year.
Restivo moved to Morristown last year and works for Verizon as a designer. She’s been singing a lot longer, thanks to her mom, Suzanne, who performs with Cabaret for Life and starred in her own 2012 show, What Would Dolly Do?
“Her advice for me is to always show up looking my best and doing my best by being prepared,” Restivo said.
“She’s taught me that you get much farther with honey than vinegar — while encouraging me to stand out in the crowd and follow my passions.”
Restivo grew up adoring country music and classic rock.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I just…was obsessed with music, constantly listening to it,” Restivo said.
She has no second thoughts about singing at Morristown Onstage without the safety net of a band.
“I chose to sing a cappella because this song in particular is one of my favorites,” Restivo explained. “Over the years I’ve gotten used to performing it at the drop of a hat, and so I feel confident in my ability to deliver the song with emotion.
“Although I do love singing with live accompaniment, I think there’s something a bit unique about singing alone. I hope to capture that presence,” she said.
Acting is in her blood, too.
A member of the International Thespian Society, an honor society for theater students, Restivo has done charity work with Cabaret For Life Inc., an Asbury Park nonprofit that raises money for those with serious illnesses through musical theater.
She’s also passionate about painting.
But new paints and canvases won’t come first if she wins Morristown Onstage. She has another list in mind for the $1,000 prize.
“Groceries,” Restivo said.
Produced by the nonprofit Morris Educational Foundation, Morristown Onstage is open to amateurs who live, work or study in Morristown, Morris Township or Morris Plains, and to alumni of Morristown High School. From more than 60 acts that auditioned, 15 were chosen to compete on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. Show business pros will award $1,000 to the top youth and adult performers, and the audience favorite will take home $500. Tickets go on sale Jan. 29. Proceeds benefit Morris School District programs.