Top 20 NJ New Year’s Eve Events: First Nights, concerts, plays and more

Chubby Checker will perform at First Night Ocean City.

There will be family-oriented First Night festivals throughout the state this New Year’s Eve, plus rock, jazz and classical concerts, comedy shows and plays. Here’s a look at 20 things to do.


Chubby Checker will do the twist at First Night Ocean City, with other attractions including the Ocean City Pops, Fabulous Greaseband, mentalist Dan Cain, magicians Chad Juros and Ben Lipman, ice skating, the St. Augustine’s Prep Choir, “Madagascar the Musical,” the Give & Take Jugglers, and animal handler Jungle John, plus fireworks at midnight.

First Night Morriswill offer more than 80 performances at 24 Morristown venues, with shuttle bus service between venues available. Attractions will include jazz pianist Rio Clemente, the rock group The John Ginty Band, magician Scott Drukker, The New Jersey Festival Orchestra, the Harmonium Choral Society, Maurício de Souza’s Latin jazz group Bossa Brasil, Metropolitan Opera soprano Jennifer Check, comedian Moody McCarthy, folksinger Christine DeLeon, The Mayhem Poets, storyteller Julie Pasqual, New Jersey Tap Ensemble soloists Maurice Chestnut and Jeffry Foote, Irish fiddler Brian Conway, Colombian folk group Viva Vallenato, fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight, and more.

The third annualFirst Night Warren takes place at Rutherfurd Hall in Allamuchy, with Slattery Irish Dance, Rizzo Reptiles, mentalist Ken Axell, magician Eric Walton and more, plus fireworks at 7:15 p.m.

Fifteen venues will participate inFirst Night Haddonfield, offering entertainment by hit-making groups The Duprees and The Tramps, Irish rock band The Screaming Orphans, the acrobatics act Galumpha, magician Brian Richards, comedian Andy Pitz, members of the Haddonfield Cello Society and more. There will also be fireworks at 9 p.m.



• Charlie Wilson, who fronted the hit-making Gap Band (“Early in the Morning,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” “Burn Rubber on Me”) in the ’70s and ’80s and has had a huge comeback in recent years, will present a “New Year’s Eve Celebration” at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, at 7 p.m.

Shore music scene giantsSouthside Johnny & the Asbury Jukeswill present their annual New Year’s Eve concert at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank at 9 p.m., with a live broadcast on SiriusXM satellite radio.

Broadway stars will sing with the New Jersey Festival Orchestraat“Puttin’ on the Ritz,” a revue featuring music from stage, screen and television musicals, at 7 p.m. at Westfield High School. David Wroe will conduct the orchestra, and the vocalists, with some of their Broadway credits in parentheses, will include sopranos Marissa McGowan (“A Little Night Music,” “Les Misérables,” “Bonnie and Clyde”) and Hannah Shankman (“Les Misérables,” “Wicked”) and tenors Michael Mendez (“Chaplin”) and Adam Monley (“Les Misérables”). (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight Dec. 27, with the word “NJFO” in the subject line.)

•“Another ’90s New Year’s Eve”at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park will feature New Jersey musicians playing the songs of other bands, with Lost in Society and Earth Telephone (as Third Eye Blind), Levy and the Oaks (as Foo Fighters), MACK (as No Doubt), Strange Eclipse (as The White Stripes), Emily Grove and Friends (as Tori Amos) and Chris Rockwell and Friends (as The Beastie Boys).


“Salute to Vienna,”an evening of music and dance, takes place at 6 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick and will feature the Strauss Symphony of America, conducted by Bernhard Schneider, with soprano Micaëla Oeste, tenor Tilmann Unger and dancers from Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine & International Champion Ballroom Dancers.

TheNew Jersey Capital Philharmonic Orchestra‘s 8 p.m. concert at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton will feature Peter Boyer’s Silver Fanfare; Émile Waldteufel’s The Skater’s Waltz, Op. 183; Anton Dvorak’s Two Slavonic Dances from Op. 72; Paul Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Scherzo after the ballad by Goethe); Otto Nicolai’s Overture to “The Merry Wives of Windsor”; Leroy Anderson’s Syncopated Clock; Tango (John Williams, arr.) from “Scent of a Woman”; and Gershwin/Bennett’s Gershwin in Hollywood.David Osenberg of WWFM will host.


Among the New Jersey jazz venues offering New Year’s Eve shows are Shanghai Jazz in Madison (The King Solomon Hicks Quartet); Trumpets in Montclair (Ty Stephens and SoulJaasz); and Due Mari in New Brunswick (The Charlie Sigler Quartet).

John Keabler and Susan Maris in “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison


Several notable New Jersey theatrical productions are ending their runs on Dec. 31: “Annie,” 1:30 p.m. at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn; “A Christmas Carol,” 1 p.m. at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton (see video below); and “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” 4:30 p.m. at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison.


New Year’s Eve comedy bookings around the state include Kevin Brown, Mike Marinoand Tommy Gooch at Catch a Rising Star in Princeton;Bret Ernst and Vinnie Brand at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick;Mike Cannon at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant Beach;Chris Monty, Teri Granahan and John Hollywood at Scotty’s Pub and Comedy Cove in Springfield; and Paul Bondat Bananas in Hasbrouck Heights.

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