PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST ANNOUNCES
COMPLETE PROGRAM LINEUP
FOR HIGHMARK FIRST NIGHT PITTSBURGH 2017
PITTSBURGH: THE NEXT 200 YEARS
Saturday, December 31, 2016, 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. midnight
Cultural District | Downtown Pittsburgh
Download Media Kit HERE
Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced today the complete programming roster for the 23rd annual Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. Each year, Pittsburgh comes together to celebrate the New Year with hundreds of events and performances throughout the Cultural District. For the sixth consecutive year, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will serve as the presenting sponsor for the event, produced by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. In the heart of downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Highmark First Night Pittsburgh provides an exciting and family-friendly way to ring in the New Year.
“We are excited that this year’s Highmark First Night Pittsburgh culminates Pittsburgh’s bicentennial celebrations. Highmark First Night is the region’s large one-day festival, the perfect way to come together to end the year-long bicentennial celebration,” shared Sarah Aziz, Director of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. “We are also excited to highlight Pittsburgh’s future through the theme: Pittsburgh: The Next 200 Years, which will be reflected in the FedEx ground parade, activities in the family tent, and some great giveaways that commemorate the city’s incorporation!”
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh will kick off with the Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks at 6:00 p.m. on the Highmark Stage, along with a performance by AAMI Jazz Lab. The Jazz Lab consists of students from the Afro-American Music Institute who excel on their instrument. With jazz as their foundations, they also blend in Gospel, R&B and Pop.
The FedEx Ground Parade will feature local dignitaries, marching bands, a colorful display of local community artwork in addition to the traditional art cards and giant puppets from Studio Capezzuti. This year, the parade starts the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 8 p.m. and stretches to Stanwix Street. Workshops to develop the puppets for the parade are taking place throughout the month of December and can be attended at no cost. For more information on how to register for a workshop, visit TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH.
The evening will culminate in the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale: the countdown to midnight, the raising of the 1,000 lbs. Future of Pittsburgh ball 150 feet in the air above Penn Avenue Place, and a spectacular Zambelli fireworks finale. Visitors will also witness the Pittsburgh premier performance of the nationally renowned Nigel Hall Band. Hall’s celebrated debut album was released in November, featuring original compositions ranging from blissful, soul tunes and rhythm and blues to funky dancefloor beats and sultry serenades. Hall will provide the perfect tunes to groove into 2017.
This year, Highmark First Night Pittsburgh features an expanded footprint, featuring three outdoor stages! The Dollar Bank Stage will return to 7th Street in front of the Benedum. The Highmark Stage, which features the evening’s headline and serve as the location for the Grand Fireworks Finale, will be repositioned to the corner of Penn Avenue and Stanwix. Guest will face the river on Stanwix for the Grand Fireworks Finale. The third stage will be on 8th Street and Penn Avenue, featuring local DJ, DJ Big Phil. The Fire and Ice Plaza is also moving to the corner of 9th Street and Penn Avenue, and will still feature live ice carvings, fire dancers and a fire-breathing dragon provided by Ice Creations and Steel Town Fire.
In addition to an expanded footprint, Highmark First Night Pittsburgh will also feature an expanded variety of performances. Vouchered performances this year will include Penny Arcade and Player One at Arcade Comedy. For the first year ever, Pittsburgh Comedy Festival will present a First night Comedy Showcase in the Pittsburgh CAPA school auditorium. Other vouchered performances include Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, the Afro-American Music Institute’s Boys Choir, and Reed Dance II – all of which will take place in the August Wilson Center. In the Benedum Center, the Williams Sing Off Winner will open for Johnny Angel and the Halos. The Byham will be rocking on Sixth Street with Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors. The Cabaret at Theater Square will feature Pittsburgh’s own CLO Ministars. In the Highmark Auditorium, Jonathan Auxier, the New York Times best-selling author will take readers on a magical journey as he discusses his books and shares stories that inspire him. There are 23 different vouchered shows this year, reservations are free with Highmark First Night admission but must be made early!
There are plenty of events that you can enjoy without a reservation happening throughout the night. This year is the debut of 3-D Live First Night Extravaganza. Presented by the GNC World Headquarters, GNC will use 14 high definition projectors to present a milestone in storytelling 80 years in the making! Other activities include Ballroom, Swing, and Latin and Rhythm dance lessons with Arthur Murray Dance Center and Soul Line Dancing with Roland Ford. Visitors can also get their groove on to the beats of three different DJs at the Silent Disco at the August Wilson Center. In the Harris Theater, Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present Digital Decade: The First Night Trailers, a collection of film trailers that span the history of cinema from silent films through the digital cinema of today. More comedy is available with the musical improvisers Missy Moreno and Connor McCanlus as they engage audiences in Mic Check, an interactive comedy lounge in 820 Liberty Avenue.
After the 6 p.m. children’s fireworks, there are a wide variety of other family-friendly and kid-friendly activities to keep the family entertained until midnight. Fifth Avenue Place will once again be open, and families can escape the cold with caricaturists, Giggles the Clown, face painting and activities planned by the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series, EQT Bridge Theater Series and EQT Children’s Theater Festival. Kids and kids at heart can enjoy hands-on activities at the First National Bank Family Tent. There, visitors can meet the Allegheny Park Rangers and local mascots, like Social Butterfly. There will also be hands-on activities, such as creating your own snowflakes with Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and other arts activities with Fort Pitt Museum, Citiparks, and The Children’s Museum. There will also be special appearances by Daniel Tiger at the August Wilson Center. PNC’s Buzzword Project, Light Bright Beautiful Puppetry Show and Trust teaching artists will provide more activities for children, including making a giant paper flower garden.
Music lovers will be pleased by the variety of musical performances. ViRAGO, a musical duo that mixes melodies and rhythms with original roots-rock, folk songs and blues to create their own unique gumbo of musical style, will perform on the Dollar Bank Stage. Also on the Dollar Bank Stage, Dr. Herbert Jones and the Heritage Gospel Choral of Pittsburgh will perform soul-soothing gospel music. Guitarist Matt Korbanic will perform with his 8 string brahms guitar in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott. For those who enjoy more traditional music selections, the First Presbyterian Church will feature the Balmoral Pipes and Drums. The Peirce Studio in the Trust Arts Education Center will be the annual First Night Jazz Club, featuring legendary bassist Dwayne Dolphin and Steel Town Horns. Brooke Annibal and Meeting of Important People will also perform in the Education Center.
The CAPA School will be a hub for various activities. In addition to the voucher shows happening in the auditorium, there will also be performances by the Youth Folk Ensemble, Junior Tambitzans of South Hills, Tadashi and Unsuk Bellydance in the Black Box. Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse will present a “Scrappy New Year” activity and an exhibition featuring Pittsburgh CAPA School student art.
Urban Pathways will provide respite from the cold with a Warm Up, Charge Up station offering hot chocolate and places to charge phones. To pass time waiting for phones to charge, Vince Ornato will be drawing caricatures and there will be tarot card readings.
All of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust galleries will offer extended hours, allowing visitors to get in out of the cold to create their own gallery crawl. Open galleries include 707 & 709 Penn Galleries, 937 Liberty, SPACE, Wood Street Galleries and the Lantern. There will be three additional galleries open at the August Wilson Center.
Visit TrustArts.org/FristNightPGH for a full schedule of events. The Highmark First Night Pittsburgh website provides event details and allows users to sort through the schedule of events and customize plans. TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH is mobile-friendly and will allow smartphone users to plan on-the-go during New Year’s Eve.
Admission Buttons are $10 in advance or at the door (children 5 and under FREE) and are worn by attendees on New Year’s Eve, giving access to all indoor and outdoor attractions at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. Admission Buttons will be available for sale on Friday, November 18, 2016 at TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH, the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue), or at 412-456-6666. Additionally, participating Giant Eagle store locations will have buttons available for sale starting in early December. Some indoor performances also require seating vouchers, which are free tickets. Events requiring vouchers are listed at TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH.
FIRST NIGHT FRIENDS
Reserve your spot to celebrate in comfort and style during Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2017. Enjoy priority seating, access to the First Night Friends Lounge, parking, and more! For more information on the ultimate New Year’s Eve experience, visit this link or please call 412-471-3518.
SPONSORS & MEDIA PARTNERS
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2017 sponsors as of the release date include: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield as the presenting sponsor, Dollar Bank, First National Bank, Giant Eagle, Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, PNC and GNC. Williams returns as the title sponsor of the Sing-Off. FedEx Ground returns as the title sponsor for the annual parade which includes special themed puppets designed by Studio Capezzuti. Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2017 community supporters include The Buhl Foundation and The Fine Foundation and The Grable Foundation.
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2017 media partners currently include KDKA TV, 90.5 WESA, 91.3 WYEP, Pittsburgh City Paper, PGH Trib, and NEXTpittsburgh. Special thanks to Trust-Franklin Press Company for printing.
HIGHMARK FIRST NIGHT PITTSBURGH
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, is an arts-focused and family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. It is the largest single-day celebration in the region offering 100+ events at dozens of indoor and outdoor locations within the 14-block Cultural District. The celebration offers something for everyone.
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Cultural Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. For more information, visit TrustArts.org.
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