Arts & Entertainment

Broadway Comes to Westfield New Year’s Eve for NJ Festival Orchestra’s ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’

Soprano Marissa McGowan has appeared on Broadway in “Kiss me Kate.” On Dec. 31, she will perform with the NJFO in Westfield.

WESTFIELD, NJ — The New Jersey Festival Orchestra will ring in the New Year Dec. 31 with “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” an American musical revue starring special guest vocalists from Broadway and beyond.

The performance — one of their most popular each year — is scheduled for 7  p.m. at Westfield High School.

“It is the ‘perfect storm’ of celebratory, popular music with great stars from the Broadway stage in a casual yet accessible venue, mixed with a time when people are wanting to celebrate with their family and friends and looking for just this kind of activity,” Maestro David Wroe said. “People want safe, familiar and uplifting events to bring in the New Year, and the NJ Festival Orchestra has built a tradition of being the place to be on this special night. It also fits perfectly in people’s plans — the 1,000-plus audience either coming directly from a dinner, or leave the concert heading directly to their final dinner or party of the year.”

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The NJFO’s New Year’s Eve concerts are the most popular offerings of the season, Wroe explained.

“So, in itself, the event is a highlight of the year for our community,” Wroe said. “The guest artists this year all come from the Broadway stage —  Hannah Shankmann presently appears in ‘Wicked’ in New York City, Marissa McGowen is hot off the national tour of ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Kiss me Kate’ on Broadway,  Adam Monley was recently seen in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway and Broadway star Michael Mendez was Fatty Arbuckle in ‘Chaplin.’”

The concert is family-friendly, with a special discount for children under 18.

Wroe called the program a superb review of American stage, screen and television musicals that the entire family can enjoy.

It’s “eclectic, dynamic and a grand retrospective of the some of the choice songs from Broadway,” he said. “All the great composers are represented.”

Songs by classic American musical composers Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Lerner and Loewe and Sondheim will be included, as well as some from movie musical favorites “Frozen,” “Paint your Wagon” and “Golden Boy,” and more contemporary fare including “Jersey Boys” and “Light in the Piazza.”

The fun of the program also comes from the guest artists and orchestra interacting with each other, according to Wroe.

“It’s music that calls for dramatic interpretation, drawing comedic, heart-breaking, passionate and exhilarating performances from the NJ Festival Orchestra and stars invited,” he said. “Essentially, it’s the Paper Mill Playhouse and NJ Festival Orchestra that bring such world-class talent and listening opportunities to New Jersey. We at the Festival Orchestra are proud to be the go-to destination in Central Jersey for New Year’s Eve celebrations.”

Seats are selling fast, according to Wroe. Tickets are $42, $56 and $70, with a special discount price of only $15 for kids under 18. Buy them online or by calling the NJFO box office at 908-232-9400.

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