20 Memorable Events in MPAC History

Morristown NJ Performing Arts 20th Anniversary Events Banner Image - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Since 1994, The Mayo Performing Arts Center has staged thousands of events. With the help of current and former staff, as well as our patrons, we’ve taken on the daunting task of identifying 20 of our most memorable events. Our criteria was based on a variety of factors, ranging from the caliber of artist, to whether an event was a “first of its kind.” This is not a countdown, and by no means is the definitive list....but these events are some of the key moments in our history. 

We’ll be revealing a portion of the list each weekday until January 30. Check back for updates! We invite your feedback at concerts@mayoarts.org.

Entries may be featured in future MPAC anniversary communications. 

Performing Arts Theater Logo Picture In Morristown NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Jerry Seinfeld, The Moody Blues, Rob Thomas…And Many others

Rob Thomas, Ray Charles, Hootie and the Blowfish, Hall & Oates, Heart, David Brubeck, Lynyrd Skynyrd and so many more…Harry Connick, Jr serving birthday cake to patrons. Garrison Keillor leading the audience in a sing-along…..all patrons have their own special memories and we hope to bring many more over the next 20 years.



Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band - June 26, 2012

Beatles tribute shows always sell well, but the buzz was in town when Ringo himself, accompanied by his all-star band, showed up in 2012. “Tough call, but recent shows featuring Ringo Starr and Harry Connick, Jr. are among my highlights, not merely in 20 years at Mayo PAC, but in my 34 years of attending concerts” -- Joe Schilp

Ringo Starr Performing In Morristown NJ At A Performing Arts Center Image - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Logo Image For Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Performing Arts Theater Performance In Morristown NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - May 31, 2013

The Education Department’s first locally produced youth musical was worth the wait – over 70 children and four performances, leading to Hairspray the next year, with a cast of 85. “From the production staff to the costumes to the music....and of course, to the young actors and actresses.....so professional...so impressive.... and so outstanding! This show was the real deal from start to finish.” -- Cindy Caporaso



Roger Hodgson - November 8, 2012

The first show on the MPAC stage following Hurricane Sandy was this emotional concert. Everyone “Gave a Little Bit” and got a respite from the turmoil circling around New Jersey. MPAC also pitched in to help at the Kodo Drummers concert, taking a collection of Japanese earthquake victims, in which the Kodo members were visibly moved by our patrons’ outpouring of help, and at a Mardi Gras concert following Hurricane Katrina.

Photo Of Roger Hodgson In A Morristown NJ Holiday Concert - Mayo Performing Arts Center
David Byrne Morristown NJ Performing Arts Center Photo - Mayo Performing Arts Center

David Byrne - May 27, 2004

There had been a few rocks acts that performed here – The Pretenders in 2000, and Peter Frampton in 2003, for instance, but toward the end of the 2003 season, the former Talking Head frontman came to Morristown (bike in tow, riding around town), and put on a memorable performance. One of the first times a top current rock act came to the Theatre.

Liza Minelli - September 28, 2007

Liza Minnelli breaks in our new expanded stage in 2007, signaling a new era and new capabilities for performances.

Picture Of Liza Minnelli For A Performing Arts School In Morristown NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Morristown NJ Performing Arts School Stage Picture - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder - Nov. 3, 2006

Due to stage expansion construction delays, the 2006 season was nearly derailed. MPAC Board Chairman Bud Mayo went on stage, knocked on the temporary wall constructed there and said, “Behind this wall is chaos.” But a little innovation and touch of Theatre magic led to the creation of a small temporary stage on which the entire 2006-2007 season was held. Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder kicked it off, and only two shows had to be cancelled due to the stage size restrictions.

John Legend: June 3, 2014

John Legend was on top of the charts in the summer of 2014 and MPAC had him in his “All of Me” tour in June 2014.

Morristown NJ Performing Arts Event Picture Of John Legend - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Morristown NJ Performing Arts Residnecy Program Logo Image - Mayo Performing Arts Center

We've Got the Power

An explosive manhole and underground fire knocked out power on South Street; but MPAC was able to host its Richard Jeni (Nov. 18, 2005) comedy concert because it was on a different power grid. Parking on South Street was never easier! A sold out Frankie Valli (March 8, 2007) concert was nearly cancelled 20 minutes prior to the performance when the temporary power used on the temporary stage failed and had to be re-routed at the last minute. The Johnny Cash: The Man in Black (Oct. 14, 2011) performance was delayed nearly a half hour due to a power outage in town.

Tony Bennett - October 28, 2005

His debut appearance in 2005 was one of the first "big gets;" during the show Tony Bennett puts down the microphone (which he would do at subsequent MPAC performances) and sings unaided by amplification as he praises the Theatre's acoustics.

Tony Bennett Morristown NJ Performing Arts Theater Image - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Logo Image Of A Morristown NJ Ballet And Dance Audition Event - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Morristown’s Got Talent - February 27, 2008

Morris Education Foundation’s annual local talent showcase has become an annual fixture in town. MPAC has also been home to the Colonial Symphony, New Philharmonic, First Night Morris, New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble, and of course New Jersey Ballet and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, among other New Jersey based arts groups.

In the Heights - October 22, 2011

Just off its Broadway run, the touring production of In The Heights showcased all of the new amenities that were available to the Theatre due to its expanded stage house, later used to effect in such shows as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, American Idiot, Million Dollar Quartet and more.

Image Of A Performing Arts Event Logo In Morristown NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Morristown NJ Performing Arts Center Soldier Memorial Photo - Mayo Performing Arts Center

9/11 Tribute Concert - September 11, 2011

Put together by education director Cathy Roy, this event, held on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, featured local community leaders, children’s groups and performers banding together for a concert that honored those lost on that tragic day, while also celebrating America’s resiliency.

Peter & Paul sans Mary - November 2, 2008

A concert that had to be rescheduled several times due to Mary Travers’ poor health (she eventually passed away), Peter and Paul got together to sing and share stories about the departed third member of their trio.


Photo Of Peter And Paul Posing For A Morristown Performing Arts Theater - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Picture Of Steve Martin And Edie Brickell Morristown NJ Performing Arts Center Promotional Photo - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Paul Simon mixing sound for Steve Martin and Edie Brickell...and other special guests - June 22, 2013

Steve Martin’s second time at MPAC featured a special sound engineer – none other than Paul Simon, there to watch his wife perform. There’s been other times when special guests were found around the Theatre. Little Steven attended the Ringo Starr concert. Tom Bergeron, host of Dancing with the Stars was at the recent William Shatner performance. John McEnroe showed up at his wife’s (Patti Smyth of Scandal) last summer. Jim Caviezel (“Person of Interest”) attended the performance of Johnny Mathis....even this past week, Kathleen Marshall, the original Broadway director and choreographer of Nice Work If You Can Get It, was here to watch....Nice Work If You Can Get It. And, yes, we’ve had Snooki, the cast of Jerseylicious and a real housewife of New Jersey attend shows.

Brad Zimmerman’s My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy - Sept 4, 2008

This one man show was the first performance in Starlight Room. The Starlight Room would be used for other experimental performances, including the Starlight Series, SpeakEasy and others.

Picture Of Brad Zimmerman Morristown NJ Performing Arts Center Promotional Photo - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Nutcracker Holiday Show In Morristown NJ Image - Mayo Performing Arts Center

New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker - December 17, 2010

Due to a scheduling problem, New Jersey Ballet relocated its annual holiday showcase from the Paper Mill to MPAC, and now recently celebrated its 5th season in Morristown with 14 performances and attendance of over 12,000 in 2014.

Sugarland Opens for the Gatlins - April 23, 2005

“The Opening Act was a new group of three known as Sugarland.  Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush and Kristen Hall brought the house down and drew a spontaneous standing ovation. The three original members then (Before Kristen Hall dropped out) signed demo cd's for $10 before the Gatlin Brothers came out…The rest as they say is history and we were so blessed to see  Sugarland so early and recognize how wonderful they would become.” Ken and Nancy Prail -- Morris Plains

Brooklyn Doo Wop Reunion Show - June 7, 2008

A new era began on this day, as it was our first summer concert deployed with air conditioning

Jackson Browne - October 24, 2003

He’s played here several times, but the first time was the first big “super-onsale,” in which a concert was sold out in just a few short hours, and people lined up outside the door – because it was before the ease of online ticketing.


Jackson Browne Morristown NJ Performing Arts Theater Photo - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Performing Arts Theater Opening Photo Of Valery Gergiev - Mayo Performing Arts Center

Theatre Opening Concert with Valery Gergiev - September 29, 1994

In the winter of 1994, he promised Alexander Slobodanyik that the Kirov would play here and it did, after a summer cleanup by hundreds of volunteers, ushering the opening of the Theatre on September 29, 1994. The Theatre may not have been pretty, and may have still had a mildew smell, but it was the start of a new era of entertainment in Morristown.



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