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A capital night in Annapolis


The state capital is transformed into an alcohol-free citywide party on New Year's Eve as First Night Annapolis celebrates the start of 1997.

First Night actually begins in the afternoon at 3: 30 p.m. on New Years Eve. There will be eight performances of the children's matinee, which is free to kids under 6 when accompanied by an adult wearing a First Night admission button.

Performances for the children include the comedy theater of Tom Dougherty, illusionist Phillip Jennings, the Jokesters' mime comedy and storytellers Anne Roth and Michael "Badhair" Williams.

For the older crowd, there will be two performances at the Annapolis City Dock. People can dance under a heated big top to the Kings of Swing, a 13-piece band that plays tunes from the through the '90s. Also at the dock, carillonneur Frank DellaPenna literally rings in the New Year with 35 cast-bronze bells. The Cast in Bronze ensemble, which has played for Pope John Paul II, performs a mix of jazz, soft rock and new-age music.

As usual, a wide range of entertainment will be offered at First Night Annapolis. All in all, there will be nearly 300 performances in various categories, plus roving outdoor street performers.

Among the acts to look for are the Ice Theatre of New York, the gospel sounds of Queen Sisters and Christian Joy, Spanish dance ensemble Ziva! and stilt dancer Pam Wunderlich.

Also hear the jazz of Greg Howard, the classical guitar of Leon Bernardyn, the a cappella sounds of the University of Rochester YellowJackets and a poetry slam with Marc Smith.

Among the more exotic performances (besides the bronze bells) are Australian actor and musician Paul Taylor with his Aboriginal dances and music and Dean Shostak playing a glass armonicist, an "old world" instrument invented by Ben Franklin.

There is free parking at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, where the "First Night Express" will shuttle people into town. First Night Annapolis, an indoor event, goes on no matter what the weather and is alcohol-free.

Seating at performances is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Facts

What: First Night Annapolis, a New Year's Eve celebration of the arts featuring nearly 300 performances

When: Early performances for children begin at 3: 30 p.m.; general performances begin at 6 p.m. and continue through midnight; fireworks are at midnight at the waterfront dock

Where: Throughout Annapolis

Tickets: $14 for an admission button that provides entry to all performances. Program guide books are $2. Both may be purchased at most Giant Food Stores and all First National Bank branches. Children under 2 are admitted free; children under 6 are admitted free to an afternoon performance.

Call: (410) 787-2717

Internet Web site: http: //www.fstngt.org

Pub Date: 12/26/96

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