By Laura Latzko
New Year’s Eve and Day can be a time of celebration, reflection and resolutions. These events in and around the Valley were designed to bring merriment, laughter, music, excitement and joy for Phoenicians and visitors. Consider one of these events to ring in the New Year.
Jim Brickman: A Very Merry Christmas
For pianist Jim Brickman, playing at the Musical Instrument Museum has become an annual tradition. He will return for the sixth year to perform six shows from Thursday, December 29, to Saturday, December 31. Part of a larger Christmas tour, the show also features electric violinist Tracy Silverman and vocalist John Trones.
Brickman has sold over 8 million albums worldwide and has had 21 No. 1 albums on the Billboard charts. The musician has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards and won a Dove Award, a Canadian Country Music Award and two SESAC Songwriter of the Year awards. The musician also hosts a syndicated radio show in its 22nd season and has written three bestselling books.
With his show “Jim Brickman: A Very Merry Christmas,” he hopes to bring merriment and warmth to audiences during special performances highlighting love, family and the joy of music. He will sing holiday favorites such as “Winter Wonderland” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” He will also perform songs from his own repertoire, such as “The Gift,” “Sending You a Little Christmas,” “If You Believe” and “Angel Eyes.”
The artist enjoys releasing Christmas albums. In September, he offered his latest collection, “A Very Merry Christmas,” which features guest appearances from a number of prominent Broadway stars. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Entertainment Community Fund, which helps theater workers, actors, singers and crew going through difficult times.
During his shows, Brickman will share details about his life, infusing his banter with his tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating style of humor. The performances will have a live-by-request section, during which audiences can call out songs from his repertoire.
During one song, listeners will be encouraged to sing along with the pianist. The lyrics to the song are printed in the program, and the sing-alongs will be recorded and sent to audience members afterward.
WHEN: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, December 29, to Saturday, December 31
WHERE: Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix
COST: Tickets start at $49.50
INFO: 480-478-6000, mim.org
AZ Baby Boomers NYE 2003 Gala
New Year’s can be a great time to have a staycation and dance the night away. The AZ Baby Boomers NYE 2023 Gala was designed for people of all ages and backgrounds over 21 years old, but it is especially meant for the baby boomer generation. It is a space where people 58 to 76 can gather for good times. Guests will have a choice of a plated dinner of beef, chicken, salmon or a vegetarian meal. Guests should dress to impress. No sneakers or jeans are allowed. Throughout the night, a DJ will play classic rock, and the Kings of Soul will get the crowd moving with soul music. During the event, there will be 50-50 raffle with tickets for sale for $10. The raffle will help to raise money for the nonprofit Vibrant Community, an organization dedicated to building stronger communities and relationships and promoting overall mental, physical and emotional health.
WHEN: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: Forum Ballroom, Doubletree Resort Paradise Valley, 5401 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
COST: $160, $10 additional per person for private tables between two and 12 people, $164 a night rate at hotel
Silver Star Theater New Year’s Eve Celebration
The Silver Star Theater’s New Year’s Eve Celebration gives a glimpse into the company’s different offerings, with a night featuring rock, jazz, pop and country music. The lineup of entertainers will include Elvis impersonator Rick Lenzi and vocalist Devon Lewno. They will be backed by the Silver Star Band, which includes the saxophone, the flute, piano, bass and trumpet. Viewers will hear a mixture of holiday tunes and popular songs from different decades.
There will be a special holiday dinner menu with items such as turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, roasted red potatoes, salad and cake. At 10 p.m., or midnight East Coast time, guests can ring in the New Year with a countdown and champagne toast. Little bottles of champagne, sparkling cider and party favors will be provided.
WHEN: Doors open 5:30 p.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa
INFO: 480-288-0300, silverstartheater.com
New Year’s Eve Celebration: Broadway Showstoppers
Broadway music has always been part of pop culture, but it has increasingly become even more trendy with contemporary shows. The Chandler Center for the Arts will spotlight Broadway music in a night featuring six singers and Showtune Productions’ nine-piece orchestra. Listeners will hear music from some of their favorites, including “Rent,” “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “Mamma Mia!” and “Moulin Rouge.” The conductor is JR Alexander, a 35-year theater veteran. The show will feature powerhouse vocalists Matravius Avent, Courtney Washington, Jordan and Kaitlynn Bluth, Kristen Drathman and Jamie Michael Parnell.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler
COST: Tickets start at $28
INFO: 480-782-2680, chandlercenter.org
ImprovMANIA New Year’s Shows
Before moving to a new location in January, ImprovMANIA will give audiences one last time to share laughs with them at their current club. The improv troupe will perform two all-ages comedy shows in a similar style as “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Each performance is different because of audience suggestions. There will be moments of audience interaction, where members of the crowd will be pulled onstage. At the end of each show, the troupe will do a countdown and a sparkling apple cider toast.
WHEN: 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: ImprovMANIA Comedy Club, 250 S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler
COST: $20 for 16 and under, $25 for 17 and older, $29 for front-row VIP tickets
New Year’s Eve Concert with Megan Hilty
This year as part of its New Year’s Eve Concert, the Phoenix Symphony will perform with Megan Hilty, best known for playing for playing Ivy Lynn on the TV show “Smash.” The Broadway actress has also portrayed Glinda in “Wicked” and originated the role of Doralee Rhodes in “9 to 5: The Musical.” She recently earned a Tony Award nomination for her work in “Noises Off” and a Critics Choice Award nomination for her portrayal of Patsy Cline in the Lifetime movie “Patsy & Loretta.” She also has done voiceover work for audiobooks and children’s animated shows. Hilty will be accompanied by the full orchestra. At the end of the night, there will be a special champagne toast with the audience.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second Street, Phoenix
COST: Tickets start at $34
INFO: 602-495-1999, phoenixsymphony.org
Casino Arizona Rings in 2023
In Casino Arizona’s Showroom, guests can celebrate all night with live music and dancing. The celebration will feature music from R&B/Latin cover band Soulitify and will be emceed by guest host the Manic Hispanic from Mega 104.3. Guests will have a chance to win cash prizes during drawings, held at 10:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. At midnight, there will be a champagne toast and ball drop.
WHEN: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: Casino Arizona, 524 N. 92nd Street, Scottsdale
COST: $50 in advance, $60 day of event, reserved tables starting at $300
INFO: 480-850-7777, casinoarizona.com
Talking Stick Resort Glitter & Glow
New Year’s Eve can be a special time to remember favorite music from years past. The Talking Stick Resort’s Glitter and Glow event will get partygoers in the mood for dancing with music from the tribute band George Michael Reborn and the Michael Jackson experience Who’s Bad. They will perform hits such as “Faith,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” At midnight, guests can take part in a champagne toast.
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, December 31
WHERE: Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
COST: $150 tickets, which include four drinks, a glass of champagne for the midnight toast and party favors
INFO: 480-850-7777, talkingstickresort.com
Glendale Glitters brings extra sparkle to Historic Downtown Glendale during the holiday season. This year, guests will have a chance to explore the lights display through Saturday, January 7. The center of the light display is Murphy Park, but Downtown will be illuminated. As part of the Light the World Giving Machines, visitors can donate to local and international charities during the holidays.
WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. nightly through Saturday, January 7
WHERE: Murphy Park and surrounding areas, 5850 W. Glendale Avenue, Glendale
On New Year’s Eve and Day, Phoenix Zoo’s annual ZooLights display will be open and give people an extra taste of holiday cheer. Through Sunday, January 15, guests can experience the zoo’s 3.5 million lights.
This year, there will be a new “Lake Lights Show” with synchronized music and lights, as well as a 50-foot tree positioned in the middle of the lake.
The experience will also have more than 50 illuminated animal lanterns, themed light displays and nightly snow fall. In the new Polar Park, guests can take pictures with Santa, try out glowing swings and make s’mores.
Admission to Zoolights also includes Dinosaurs in the Desert, a special experience featuring large-scale dinosaur figures.
WHEN: 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. nightly through Sunday, January 15
WHERE: Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
COST: $30 general admission online, $25 member admission online, $35 general admission at the gate, $30 member admission at the gate, children 2 and younger free
INFO: 602-286-3800, phoenixzoo.org/events/zoolights