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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bickford Theatre Announces 2017-18 Season

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Bickford Theatre 2017-18 Season Opens September 28 with

The George Gee Swing Orchestra

The Bickford Theatre has announced their 2017-18 season which includes a blend of jazz, bluegrass, classical, pop and a trio of live theater offerings. Subscription packages for the Main Stage productions are available and seats for most of this season’s shows are reserved. Tickets are available online at www.morrismuseum.org or by phone at 973-971-3706. Food trucks which proved extremely popular over the summer will be offered for the concerts in September and October so make plans to tailgate while the weather is still nice.

“We are pleased to present three wonderful plays this season,” said Artistic Director Eric Hafen. “We begin with Bakersfield Mist, an Elliot Norton Award-winner for Best New Play, on October 26. The show enjoyed a successful three-month run on London’s West End before heading to regional theaters around the world. This comedy-drama tackles vital questions about art and creativity while keeping the audience laughing with well-timed zingers.”

The two other plays slated for this season are Accomplice by Tony Award-winner Rupert Holmes and A Dog Story by Eric H. Weinberger and Gayla D. Morgan. The winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s “Edgar” Award, Accomplice was a Broadway hit called “the comedy thriller of all comedy thrillers.” It opens on January 25. And the musical A Dog Story, which received rave reviews during its limited Off-Broadway run in 2016, opens on April 12.

The Bickford Theatre is developing a reputation as a great place for jazz and this season’s concerts underscore the buzz. The George Gee Swing Orchestra, one of the best big bands in the country, opens the season on Thursday, September 28th. Led by the charismatic George Gee, the 17-piece band includes many top-flight jazz musicians including singer John Dokes, saxophonist Michael Hashim, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, and bassist Marcus McLaurine.

The Jazz Showcase roster includes both the expected and the unexpected. Among the returning veterans will be bassist and singer Nicki Parrott with Rossano Sportiello and Eddie Metz in October; hot jazz clarinetist Dan Levinson in both the fall and the spring; and the annual Bix Beiderbecke Birthday Bash in March. The legendary 7-string guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli stops by in January as the theater celebrates his 92nd birthday. And the always popular singer/songwriter Grover Kemble will be joined by jazz pianist Jerry Vezza and his trio for an evening of great music and lots of laughs.

The theater is also pleased to have some new jazz stars on its stage. Swingadelic, the region’s “best little big band” pays tribute to Ella Fitzgerald in October; Chris Brubeck, the son of legendary Dave Brubeck, appears with his award-winning trio Triple Play in January; drummer T.S. Monk pays tribute to his famous father in February; and the extraordinary clarinetist Ken Peplowski salutes the great Benny Goodman in May.

The always popular A La Carte Series includes four shows this season. From Bach to Rock 2.0 on October 8 features Nadia and Vladimir Zaitsev, a prize-winning husband and wife duo who are delighting audiences around the world with their virtuosity, humor and wide-ranging repertoire.

Then on March 1, it is the dazzling Trio Da Paz, featuring Brazil’s most in-demand musicians, Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta, and Duduka da Fonseca.

On Sunday, March 4, the Garden State Philharmonic String Quartet salutes the music of Leonard Bernstein as the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of his birth; and on May 6, the critically acclaimed concert pianist Christopher Johnson performs the New Jersey premiere of his gorgeous composition “Rhapsody on America the Beautiful” in his program A Portrait of American Music.

The Bickford Theatre’s Concert Series includes both old favorites such as Fireside Mystery Theatre on October 1 and Carolyn Dorfman Dance on November 16; and new stars including Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer John Sebastian and multiple blues award-winner Marcia Ball.

Appearing on Thursday, November 30, John Sebastian will delight fans with the unique style that made him a favorite from Woodstock to Broadway. And Marcia Ball, the rollicking New Orleans-style pianist, brings the Mardi Gras spirit to the theatre on February 10 just before Fat Tuesday.

Tickets may be purchased online at morrismuseum.org, by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. Most of the shows this year will have reserved seating so order tickets early. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Photo:Singer/Songwriter John Sebastian appears on Thursday, November 30. Photo by Catherine Sebastian.

Photo: Boogie-woogie pianist and singer Marcia Ball celebrates Mardi Gras on Saturday, February 10. Photo by Bob Sekinger.

Main Stage

Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs

October 26 – November 5

The hilarious and thought provoking award-winning comedy-drama asks vital questions about what makes art and people truly authentic. Adult Language

Accomplice by Rupert Holmes

January 25 – February 4

Proclaimed “the comedy thriller of all comedy thrillers,” this award-winning whodunit thrilled audiences on Broadway and around the world with its electrifying game of trickery and misdirection. Adult Situations and Content

A Dog Story (New Jersey Premiere)

Book by Eric Weinberger; Music & Lyrics by Gayla D. Morgan

April 12 – April 22

This charming musical comedy has been called a “treat of a show for the whole family” which will have “you rolling over in laughter and delight.”

Jazz Showcase

Thursday, Sept. 28 – George Gee Swing Orchestra/Season Opener

The jazz season opens with one of the best swing bands in the country featuring New York City’s top musicians.

Thursday, Oct. 5 – Swingadelic: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

The best little big band pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of one the greatest jazz singers of the 20th Century.

Monday, Oct. 23 – Nicki Parrott Trio

Bassist and singer Nicky Parrott will be joined by pianist Rossano Sportiello and drummer Eddie Metz.

Thursday, Nov. 9 – Hot House Award Winner

Every year Hot House Jazz Magazine recognizes New York fan favorites now Bickford Theatre audiences will get to enjoy one or two of the winners in concert.

Monday, Nov. 13 – Bickford Benefit Band

Hot jazz clarinetist Dan Levinson always puts together a swinging band comprised of the best musicians from the region for this annual benefit concert.

Monday, Jan. 8 – Bucky Pizzarelli Birthday Party

Don’t miss this annual birthday celebration for the Hall of Fame guitarist whose credits range from Benny Goodman to Paul McCartney.

Saturday, January 20 – Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play

Led by the great Dave Brubeck’s son, Triple Play brings together three exceptional musicians whose good-time music draws on folk, blues, and jazz.

Thursday, Feb. 22 – T.S. Monk: Song for My Father

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of his father’s birth, T.S. Monk has charted his own course as a composer, arranger and drummer.

Monday, Feb. 26 - Dan Levinson & Friends

Clarinetist Dan Levinson always takes hot jazz to another level.

Monday, March 12 – Bix Beiderbecke Birthday Bash

If you can’t get to Davenport, Iowa, then celebrate the jazz legend’s birthday as our annual tradition continues.

Thursday, April 5 – Jerry Vezza and Grover Kemble: Together Again

We guarantee that you’ll have as much fun as the musicians do when Grover and Jerry take the stage with some friends for an evening of great music and lots of laughter.

Thursday, May 3 – Ken Peplowski’s Benny Goodman Tribute

The spirit of Benny Goodman lives in the great clarinetist Ken Peplowski who is an international favorite and has been delighting audiences for decades with his warmth, wit, and musicianship.

Saturday, May 5 – Broadway Bluegrass with the NY City Slickers

Fronted by three women, the NY City Slickers is an eight-piece, high energy, progressive Bluegrass band who will give a new twist to Broadway favorites.

A La Carte Series

Sunday, October 8 – From Bach to Rock 2.0 with Nadia and Vladimir Zaitsev

Back by popular demand, this prize-winning husband and wife team astound and delight audiences with their virtuosity, humor and wide-ranging repertoire.

Sunday, March 4 – Garden State Philharmonic: Broadway Bound

The Garden State Philharmonic String Quartet celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday with a selection of his favorite compositions plus the works of other Broadway composers.

Thursday, March 12 – Trio da Paz

Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta, and Duduka da Fonseca have redefined Brazilian jazz with their dazzling rhythms and exciting improvisations.

Sunday, May 20 – Christopher Johnson: Portrait of American Music

The critically acclaimed concert pianist performs the New Jersey premiere of his composition “Rhapsody on America the Beautiful” as well as classical favorites. Dr. Johnson performs throughout the USA, Europe, Central America, South America and in Canada.

Concerts Series

Sunday, October 1 -- Fireside Mystery Theatre

You’ll be treated to thrilling, all new original radio dramas along with musical performances and comedic sketches in an exclusive world premiere.

Thursday, November 16 -- Carolyn Dorfman Dance

The award-winning dance company will hit the stage with a bold, dramatic performance which both entertains and engages the audience in a celebration of the human spirit.

Thursday, Nov. 30 – John Sebastian

Since the 1960s, John Sebastian has been an important part of the American music fabric, from Greenwich Village to films and television the founder of The Lovin’ Spoonful and inductee into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame has entertained audiences around the world.

Saturday, Feb. 10 – Marcia Ball

Multiple award winning singer and pianist Marcia Ball will raise the Bickford Theatre roof with her rollicking, infectious band as they celebrate Mardis Gras with her musical gumbo which blends blues, boogie-woogie and Texas roadhouse.

Sunday, Feb. 25 – The Magic of Lyn

Amazing eye-defying illusionist returns to the stage for a spectacular show. She is the first woman illusionist in history to receive the Milbourne Christopher Award, The Academy Award of magic, from the Society of American Magicians. 

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