On Sunday, Dec. 31, at 7 p.m., under the baton of Maestro David Wroe, New Jersey Festival Orchestra again presents one of New Jersey’s most popular New Year’s Eve musical celebrations. This year’s performance, Puttin’on the Ritz, offers a special discount tickets for kids under 18 and promises a superb review of American stage, screen and television musicals that will be appreciated by the entire family.
“This year’s program reads like a Who's Who of the best of American musical theater,” said Maestro David Wroe. “It’s a chance for adults to reminisce to songs they all know, for kids to learn more about and enjoy some of the most exciting characters to grace the stage and screen, and for us all to revel in the genius of America’s finest composers.”
The concert features guest vocalists direct from the Broadway stage and beyond: sopranos Marissa McGowan (Broadway A Little Night Music, Les Mis, Bonnie and Clyde) and Hannah Shankman (Broadway Les Mis, Wicked), tenors Michael Mendez (Broadway Chaplin), and Adam Monley (Broadway Les Mis).
Continued Wroe, “The fun of this program comes from the interaction of our guest artists and orchestra as well as the great repertoire. It’s music that calls for dramatic interpretation, drawing comedic, heart breaking, passionate, and exhilarating performances from all.”
Soprano Marissa McGowan has appeared on Broadway in A Little Night Music, Les Miserables where she performed both the roles of Eponine and Cosette, and Bonnie and Clyde. Marissa was chosen by Marvin Hamlisch to star in the world premier of his last musical "The Nutty Professor" directed by the legendary Jerry Lewis. She has extensive regional starring credits, has worked with numerous US orchestras including Baltimore and Houston Symphony Orchestras, and has recently been seen on television in Major Crimes (TNT), and Odd Mom Out (BRAVO).
Mezzo-soprano and native New Yorker Hannah Shankman has worked on Broadway, West End, and multiple venues all over the USA and Japan. She was seen performing on the 85th Annual Academy Awards with the cast of the movie Les Miserables. She has also been featured on numerous recordings including the Tony nominated Liz Swados' Judith and The Haggadah.
Tenor Adam Monley was most recently seen on Broadway as “Inspector Javert” in the latest revival of Les Miserables and was a member the original Broadway cast of Mamma Mia! He has sung on stages around the world as far as Tokyo and as near as Paper Mill Playhouse where recently starred as Mr. Banks in the company production of Mary Poppins. Adam also starred in the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera (Raoul) and has appeared in numerous regional theaters across the country.
Tenor Michael Mendez originated the role of Fatty Arbuckle in the Broadway production of Chaplin, and is featured on the show’s original Broadway Cast Recording. Mr. Mendez also originated the role of Olaf in Frozen: A Musical Spectacular for the Disney Wonder. He has numerous Off Broadway and regional credits as well as numerous concert appearances and readings throughout New York City. He will be featured in upcoming production of Hey, Look Me Over! at City Center Encores!, this February.
The New Year’s Eve celebration, eagerly anticipated by much of central New Jersey, has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of The NJ State Council on the Arts and The Westfield Foundation. With a 7pm start and a convenient Westfield High School location with ample parking, the concert is a perfect beginning to New Year’s Eve revels.
Tickets $42, $56 and $70, with a special discount price of only $15 for kids under 18, may be purchased on line www.njfestivalorchestra.org or by calling the NJFO box office at 908-232-9400.