November 2, 2021
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Media Contact:
Robin Elrod, Director of PR and Communications | (412) 471-8716
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh Assets:
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Announces
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 Returns to the Cultural District
and the Williams Sing-Off Welcomes Special Guest Judge Adam Pascal
Following a completely virtual Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2021, the event returns to the Cultural District with an expanded outdoor footprint; free and open to the public
Friday, December 31, 2021, 6 p.m.–midnight
Cultural District | Downtown Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced today that Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 events will take place in the Cultural District this New Year’s Eve. While last year’s event moved to a completely virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cultural Trust has worked with its partners and city officials to create the safest in-person event possible this year; featuring an expanded outdoor footprint with four outdoor stages and public art installations, visual arts galleries, select indoor performances at Cultural District venues, and annual favorite outdoor activities such as the New Year’s Eve Parade featuring Studio Capezzuti puppets, Fire and Ice Plaza, and the Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network sponsored Family Tent.

As always, Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 presents an arts-focused, family-friendly celebration of the New Year throughout the 14-block radius of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. The evening begins with the Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks at 6 p.m. on the Dollar Bank Stage, and culminates in the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale, which begins at 11:58 p.m. Throughout the event’s six hours, guests can look forward to all types of art, including comedy, dance, music, magic, theater, visual art, and more, as well as hands-on activities for every age.

“Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network are excited to support the safe return of in-person events at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022,” says Dan Onorato, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at Highmark Health. “While we were proud of last year’s completely virtual First Night event, nothing can replace the joy of coming together to experience the creative art from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. We need events like Highmark First Night Pittsburgh now more than ever to reinvigorate our downtown businesses and bring our community together in the Cultural District.”

With the expansion of outdoor programs and performances, Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 is free and open to the public. Outdoor stage locations include the Dollar Bank Stage in the Benedum Lot at 7th Street and Penn Avenue, Fire and Ice Plaza at 8th Street and Penn Avenue, Heinz Hall Courtyard Stage at 6th Street and Liberty Avenue, and the Highmark Stage at Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street. Participants no longer need to purchase an Admission Button ahead of time in order to participate.

In addition to dozens of free outdoor events and gallery exhibitions, tickets to select performances at Arcade Comedy Theater, Bricolage, the Harris Theater, and Liberty Magic will be available for purchase. These tickets and the full programming line-up for outdoor stages will be announced in early December.

A returning favorite program hosted by the Cultural Trust at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, the Williams Sing-Off Competition welcomes special guest judge Adam Pascal this year. Each year, dozens of young, aspiring musical artists audition to become a finalist in the Williams Sing-Off Competition. The winner will be given the opportunity to perform live at the Dollar Bank Stage at 7th Street and Penn Avenue on New Year’s Eve, among many other great prizes. Full details are available at and applications are open now through Friday, December 3, 2021.

“The Williams Sing-Off is more than a talent show,” says TJ Rinke, Vice President at Williams. “It’s a wonderful way to support and encourage students in the arts who aspire to help Pittsburgh ring in the New Year with their amazing talent.  Williams is pleased to sponsor this Pittsburgh tradition for the 6th year in a row.”

Singers in grades 6-12 whose video-auditions edge out the competition will be named finalists in this year’s Williams Sing-Off Competition and evaluated by Mr. Pascal, who starred as the original Roger Davis in the Off Broadway, Broadway, and London Productions of RENT (Tony Award nomination) and originated the role of Radames in Broadway’s AIDA. Other Broadway credits include the final Emcee in the Roundabout’s Cabaret, Huey Calhoun in Memphis, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Chad in Disaster, William Shakespeare in Something Rotten! and, most recently, Edward Lewis in Broadway’s Pretty Woman, which comes to the Benedum Center as part of the Cultural Trust’s PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series. Mr. Pascal can be seen onstage in Pittsburgh February 1-6, 2022. He has also visited Pittsburgh many times through his Cabaret performances and in the national tour of Something Rotten!

First Night Friends
The First Night Friends VIP experience is the ultimate way to ring in the New Year. First Night Friends will receive special perks, including access to an exclusive lounge sponsored by Citizens. Plus, your support of First Night Friends will ensure that Highmark First Night Pittsburgh continues for years to come. More information about how to purchase First Night Friends VIP packages is coming soon.
Sponsors, Community, and Media Partners
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 sponsors as of November 5, 2021 include Presenting Sponsor Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allegheny Health Network, Giant Eagle, Williams, Citizens Bank, PNC, and Dollar Bank. Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2022 community supporters include The Buhl Foundation, The Fine Foundation, The Grable Foundation, and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2019 media partners include WESA 90.5 FM, WYEP 91.3 FM, Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Current, and KDKA-TV.


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 land masses “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 Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. | @CulturalTrust on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter
Culminating with the city’s ‘Countdown to Midnight’ and raising of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball, this 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 p.m. and midnight. Admission Button prices remain among the most affordable in the nation, at $10 per person (kids five and under are FREE).
Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs more than 37,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to more than 6 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Allegheny Health Network is an integrated delivery network comprised of thirteen hospitals, more than 2,500 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions is focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. Lumevity, a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark Health, helps companies transform in ways that drive direct financial benefits while improving quality and increasing employee engagement. To learn more, visit
For more than a century, Williams has been safely building and operating pipelines and facilities to bring natural gas from where it’s produced to where it’s consumed. We’ve invested billions in the Northeast, supporting local communities and creating high-quality jobs. At Williams, our mission has never been more important. We enable our customers, investors, employees, and communities to maximize the opportunities created by the vastly greater supply of natural gas and natural gas products. Involvement in the communities where we live and work is at the heart of Williams. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s mission helps us fulfill our commitment by offering great artistic and educational experiences across the Pittsburgh region in their efforts to bring the arts to diverse audiences. Good luck to all SING-OFF contestants!