Thursday, December 31, 2015


Media Contact:Shaunda Miles, Director of Public Relations, Diana Roth, Communications Manager, 412-471-8717/
Full Media Kit for Highmark First Night 2016 is available for download:

Thursday, December 31, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. midnight
Cultural District | Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA— The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced the complete programming roster for the 22nd annual Highmark First Night Pittsburgh.  Each year, approximately 40,000 people ring in the New Year at hundreds of events within venues throughout the Cultural District.  90% of all events are held indoors.  For the fifth consecutive year, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will serve as the presenting sponsor for the event, produced by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
“Take a tour around the world within the Cultural District on First Night,” invites Janis Burley Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “This year’s Around the Word—Around the ‘Burgh theme event offers guests the opportunity to enjoy sights and sounds from across the globe.”
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh will kick off with children’s fireworks at 6:00 p.m. on the Dollar Bank Stage along with a performance by the 10-piece music machine with a power-house singer, Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution, who have been performing in Pittsburgh frequently for the past ​four​​ years.  Crowned “The Goddaughter of Soul” by her loyal Baltimore fans, Smith moved to Pittsburgh seeking advanced medical support to aid with her son’s autism diagnosis.  Watch a video of the band’s performance here

At the end of the evening, visitors will enjoy the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale: the countdown to midnight, 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; they will also be serenaded by the rockin’ sounds of The Wailers on the Highmark Stage. Together with Bob MarleyThe Wailers have sold over 250 million albums and have played to an estimated 24 million people across the globe performing an average of 200 dates a year.  The anchor of the band is Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who in addition to being Marley’s most trusted lieutenant and co-producer, played on countless other classic reggae hits throughout the seventies. The authenticity he brings to the Wailers’ sound is indisputable and yet today’s line-up combines old school know-how with lead vocals from one of Jamaica’s most exciting new singers. 

The Wailers are undoubtedly the world’s premier reggae and world music group who bring high energy shows to fans across the globe.
The Wailers epitomize this year’s Highmark First Night Pittsburgh theme, Around the World—Around the ‘Burgh, by bringing to Pittsburgh – the site of Bob Marley’s final performance – a legacy and sound celebrated internationally for more than fifty years.
New attractions taking place throughout the evening include a special vouchered performance by Pittsburgh's premier blues/R&B/soul band, Billy Price Band.Billy Price has been entertaining audiences since performing in Pittsburgh, PA with the Rhythm Kings in the early 1970s.
Drew the Dramatic Fool presents foolish theater for smart audiences during his variety act that combines high-stakes drama with circus skills, magic, and visual theater. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School will perform withformer Principal Dancer, Christine Schwaner, who stages excerpts from the full length Spanish style ballet, Don Quixote.

Bricolage Production Company presents The Voyage of SeaSoar created by Parag S. Gohel, Ayne Tercia and Cory Talmer.  Follow the adventures of a yellow-bodied winged creature that collects subaquatic data for scientific research. After a devastating crash into the cliffs of the 4th River Gorge, the eclectic crew of the Revelle are docked in Bricolage Bay, scrambling to repair SeaSoar and save the valuable data which holds secret messages from its global travels. But, the crew cannot repair SeaSoar without first deciphering its complex language and they don’t have the key. Do you? Experience this interactive journey and discover how you can have a hand in saving SeaSoar and possibly all of humanity.

Other vouchered performances will include Arcade Comedy Theater, featuring its in-house improvisation team, Improve Arcade.  The jokes will continue in Agnes R. Katz Plaza with Construction Junction – MARC USA.  They will present The Environment is No Joke, an interactive salvaged door display featuring reuse awareness knock-knock jokes.  Player OneJ. Russ and Gab Bonesso, stand-out stand-up comedy performers will be showcased at the Cabaret at Theater Square, and Jane’s Jungle Adventure, an interactive, musical theater for kids will be performed by Gemini Children’s Theater in the Highmark Auditorium at Fifth Avenue Place.  Stacyee Pearl’s Dance Project will present PLAYGROUND, which inhabits a playful, fun space reminiscent of early life experiences with movement at the August Wilson Center. Lastly, Williams SING-OFF Competition Winner, Gabby Barrett will perform on the Dollar Bank stage as the opener for Lyndsey Smith and the Soul Distribution.  Barrett was the first Williams sing-off winner ever to be selected to receive the award by celebrity guest judge and legendary music icon, Smokey Robinson.

This year’s FedEx Ground Parade will feature local dignitaries, marching bands, a colorful display of local community artwork in addition to the traditional art cars and giant puppets from Studio Capezzuti. The parade starts at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 8 p.m. and runs along Penn Ave before turning right on 6th Street toward the Allegheny River.  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 
With all of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust galleries offering extended hours, visitors can take in world-renowned exhibitions, and stroll along their own personalized gallery crawl on New Year’s Eve. Visitors can get a final glimpse of the renowned works of Hetain Patel in At Home, and Nandini Valli Muthiah, a central figure in Indian photography,on exhibitat Wood Street Galleries. The installations at Wood Street Galleries were featured during the programmatic focus on India, recently produced by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. 

Other galleries will showcase the artwork of Sean Beauford (707 Gallery) whose exhibit Poison examines the enduring relationship between drugs and the urban community and Post Erotica: The Anthropology of Motherhood at 709 Penn Gallery which is a visual diary of valuable experiences of being a mom by Fran Flaherty.
Brokn celebrates hope for love amidst brokenness, featuring art by Lynndell Lorenz, Keith Schmiedlin, Michael Lotenero, Brian Holderman, & Matthew Lorenz (937 Liberty, 2nd Floor) and a traveling exhibition curated by Chris McGinnisThe Mountain and the Bumblebee will also be open at SPACE, featuring selected works by contemporary artists and poets who confront broadly defined notions of landscape as both cultural icon and raw material.
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh will showcase its newest members from the Spring and Fall 2015 New Member Screenings. Visitors will enjoy a variety of works including sculpture, paintings and prints from 30 visual artists which will be on view for the public.

Sail into the New Year at Shaw Galleries with the latest exhibit Pirates! Buccaneers, Privateers and Swashbucklers RevealedExplore the world of pirates and privateers or guests can sit back and relax as the Pittsburgh Filmmakers presents select classic trailers for New Year's Eve. How many films have you seen over the last 40 years? Now you can see them all again…well not all of them, but at least the trailers to these classics of cinema history!

Kids and kids at heart can enjoy the hands-on activities in the First National Bank Family Tent. There visitors will be able to help The Children’s Museum’s“First Night Resolution Tree” to bloom by writing and posting reflections from the past year and wishes for the New Year. Participants can also create a unique and colorful snowflake with Pittsburgh 

Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center ArtsThe Allegheny County Park Rangers will bring a variety of local wildlife animal specimens for participants to study, touch and learn about! Other First National Bank Family Tent collaborators include Gateway to the Arts, Buzzword Pittsburgh and Be sure to stop by the tent to say hello to Pirate Parrot, IceBurgh, Social Butterfly and Steely McBeam—Pittsburgh’s favorite mascots!

Citizens Bank Children's Theater Series, EQT Bridge Theater Series, & EQT Children's Theater Festival have fun activities planned at the August Wilson Center.  Tetris, Superheroes, and Storybooks will provide opportunities for young people to try their hand at a game of Tetris, to create a large-scale analog game of Tetris on the walls of the August Wilson Center using pixels and patterns to create incredible collaborative art or to create their very own superhero in a button.  Guests can also enjoy readings and snappy rhymes from Room on the Broom and the classic bedtime tale Good Night Moon or snap a fun selfie with everyone’s favorite gal, Junie B. Jones.

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse will encourage everyone to start their new year with confidence and flair with their activity—Award Yourself.  The activity will take place in the Multi-Purpose Room at Urban Pathways Charter School.  Visitors can craft a special wearable accolade to showcase something wonderful about themselves or their friends.

Scrappy New Year

Drew Foolhand
There a tons of other activities to enjoy including Gemstone Readings by Professor Styles of the Miracle Elixir Sideshow; First Night Face Painting, awesome one-of-a-kind on-the-spot improvisation-inflation-creations by Giggles the Clown and local CaricaturistsShawnelle Dodds and Clarence Butler—all scheduled for Fifth Avenue Place and Light Bright Beautiful Puppetry at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

For those who want to walk on the wilder side, they can enjoy a four-hour long production featuring the annual live ice carving and fire show at Fire & Ice Plaza located at the 8th Street parking lot. Experience a one of a kind fire and ice show with chainsaws slicing through ice, fire dancing with music and spectacular lighting featuring Steel Town Fire!

Music lovers will have a vast array of global sounds to choose from this year.  The WYEP music station will return and feature the Appalachian-inspired, three-part harmony group The Early Mays with special guest Rachel Feddy and Pittsburgh native Joy Ike with her percussive, soulful and powerful-pop as well as WYEP Artist of the Year – 2016, Brooke Annibale. 

Other musical performances include Dwayne Dolphin, the standout jazz bassist from Pittsburgh. The
Charlie Akers
Fairmont Hotel will remain a First Night site, featuring Tania Grubbs as part of the Jazz at Andy’s Quartet.  From jazz to classical, Balmoral Pipes and Drums with Highland Dancers will perform at the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh and River City Brass will present their Around the World Brasstacular performance featuring selections from their repertoire.

Join Cafe Con Leche to give “despidida” to 2015 as they bring in the New Year with traditions from Latin America and Pittsburgh including live dance performances and lessons from Los Sabrosos Dance CompanyTanguero Alejandro Pinzon, and Yemaya PittsburghAnthony Mitchell Jr. and Tambour Cimarron will bring the beat with music from Africa and Latin America. DS Kinsel will complete live-action painting all night long and the soulful Jacquea Maewill close out the evening with her amazing voice.

Other activities include dance lessons with Arthur Murray Dance Center, Soul Line Dancing with Roland Ford, The Junior Tamburitzans of South Hills and aBellydance Show performed by Susan Goelz of Unsuk Dance in the black box at Pittsburgh CAPA. Matthew Korbanic will be performing the works of Bach, York, and Maggio for 8-string classical guitar in the Courtyard by Marriott hotel lobby and Urban Pathways Sounds of Steel will showcase students from grades 6-12 who will delight audiences with their steelpan ensemble.  There is truly something for everyone!

All programming is subject to change. Updates will be posted online at
The new Highmark First Night Pittsburgh website provides event details and allows users to sort through the schedule of events and customize plans. is mobile-friendly and will allow smartphone users to plan on-the-go during New Year’s Eve.

AdmissionHighmark First Night Pittsburgh buttons (worn by attendees) are available beginning the first week in December at Giant Eagle locations; online at; by phone at 412-456-6666; or at The Box Office at Theater Square, located at 655 Penn Avenue.  Buttons cost $8 in advance or $10 night-of-event. Children age 5 and under are admitted FREE.
Some indoor performances also require seating vouchers, which are free tickets.  Events requiring vouchers are listed at  Want your vouchers sooner? The VIP package permits special “First Night Friends,” to enjoy priority seating, access, parking, and more! For more information on becoming a part of this special sponsorship opportunity, please call 412-471-3518.

Sponsors & Media PartnersHighmark First Night Pittsburgh 2016 sponsors as of release date include: Highmark Blue Cross Blue
Shield as the presenting sponsor, Dollar Bank, First National Bank, Giant Eagle, PNC and Bobby Rahal Automotive Group.  FedEx Ground returns as a title sponsor.  Special puppets will be designed by Studio Capezzuti for the annual parade.  Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2016 community supporters include The Buhl Foundation, The Fine Foundation, Eden Hall Foundation and The Grable Foundation.
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2016 media partners include KDKA TV, Trib Total Media, and WYEP 91.3 FM/WESA 90.5FM.

Highmark First Night PittsburghHighmark First Night Pittsburgh, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, is Pittsburgh’s arts-focused New Year’s Eve celebration. Culminating with the city’s Countdown to Midnight and raising of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball, the six-hour celebration sprawls downtown’s renowned 14-block Cultural District—inside theaters, galleries, and unique spaces and along city streets on outdoor performance stages. Acclaimed national artists and Pittsburgh’s vibrant artist community ring in the new year for revelers with live music, dance, theater, visual arts, comedy, magic, kids’ activities and a signature parade along with two Zambelli Fireworks displays at 6 pm and midnight. Admission Button prices remain among the most-affordable in the nation: $8 in advance, $10 at the door, and kids 5 and under attend for free.
The Wailers, headline musical act for Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2016, epitomize this year’s theme, Around the World—Around the ‘Burgh, by bringing to Pittsburgh – the site of Bob Marley’s final performance 35 years ago – a legacy and sound celebrated internationally for more than fifty years. Around the World—Around the ‘Burgh will shape the complete line-up attractions on New Year’s Eve as visitors discover international arts and cultural influences alongside the diverse work of Pittsburgh’s regional artists. More at

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 landmasses 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
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