Executive Director Emily Montgomery to Step Down

Empire Arts Center Executive Director Emily Montgomery will be leaving her post at the organization later this year.

Montgomery, a Grand Forks native, has served as Executive Director since 2012.  In her time leading the Empire Arts Center, the organization began the Empire Theatre Company, started an ongoing partnership with the university with UND Art Collections, created the blackbox theater Studio E, created The 1919 Lounge Broadway cabaret series, began The Backstage Project concert series, and more.  In addition to adding new programs, Montgomery spearheaded extensive fundraising efforts to upgrade the historic facility, including landmark projects to install a security system, replace the windows, add a digital movie projector and grand piano, overhaul the theatrical lighting system, replace the theater’s broken air conditioner, and more.

“Even though it’s been incredibly hard work, I couldn’t be more honored to have had the chance to make an impact on our community through my time at the Empire,” says Montgomery.  “I feel like I was able to accomplish a lot of positive things for the Empire, but I didn’t do it alone; the amazing staff (both past and present), artists, board of directors, donors, volunteers, and most importantly, my family all made the Empire’s recent successes possible.”  Montgomery will be leaving the Empire Arts Center to pursue professional opportunities with her family’s business, Burkland Farm, and to spend more time with her family, including her two young children.

“The Empire Arts Center, the regional arts community, and the city of Grand Forks have been very fortunate to have Emily Montgomery’s leadership at the Empire over the past seven years. Her dedication, passion, and commitment to collaboration have taken the Empire to new heights, and her impactful accomplishments are numerous. Her successor will be able to build upon a solid foundation thanks to Emily’s incredible work. Because of Emily’s vision, we are grateful for our history, confident in the present, and excited for the future of the Empire Arts Center. We wish her all of the best as she writes her next chapter.” says Jonathan Holth, the Empire Arts Center’s current president of the board of directors.

The Empire Arts Center will be searching for a new Executive Director, effective immediately.Interested applicants can find out more at here.

Nathan Haltiwanger Joins the Empire Arts Center Team

The Empire Arts Center is excited to announce Nathan Haltiwanger as our new Program Manager.

Nathan Haltiwanger, a native of New York, comes to the Empire Arts Center with a Master’s degree in Opera Performance and a wealth of experience in the performing arts and arts education. “The Empire has been a pillar of art and culture in Grand Forks for the last hundred years.  I am honored to be selected as the new program manager and look forward to continuing to build the Empire’s reputation of excellence in the arts,” he says.  Empire Theatre Company audiences may also recognize Nathan from the February 2019 production of Next to Normal

As the new Program Manager, Nathan will oversee all aspects of the Empire Arts Center’s programming, including the Empire Theatre Company, The 1919 Lounge, the new upcoming film series to be launched in January 2020, and more.  “I’m excited to see Nathan bring his professional experience as a performer to the Empire,” Empire Arts Center Executive Director Emily Montgomery says.  “I’m confident that he will bring new ideas and a hard work ethic that will continue to grow our programming both in scope and excellence.”  Beyond programming, Nathan’s duties will also include box office, development and marketing assistance, and more. 

Nathan can be reached at nathan@empireartscenter.com.

Empire Theatre Company Kicks Off Eighth Season

The Empire Theatre Company will open its eighth season with Legally Blonde: The Musical, a story of shattered stereotypes and self-discovery. Based on the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon, this production is guaranteed entertainment for all.

Elle Woods appears to have it all. Her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle ingeniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

The creative team for Legally Blonde: The Musical includes: Chris Berg, director; Maddie Sharpe, music director; Patrick Kasper, choreographer; Diana Chabai-Booker, stage manager; Timmy Hennessy, assistant stage manager; Amy Lyste, costume and set designer; Peter Foss and Dave Dauphinais, set construction; Tyler Smith, sound designer; and Sara Larson, light board operator. This production features regional actors Floyd Althoff, Chloe Bellione, AnneMarie Brack, Erin Chaves, Robert Cooper, Tyler Folkedahl, Ashley Fredricksen, Katie Germain, Cole Girodat, Casey Hennessy, Anna Huck, Daniel Kasper, Adrianna Kelly, Alex Kleven, Therese Kulas, Ivy McGurran, Noelle McVicar, Cathleen Norton, Miranda Peterson, Eva Reich, Zachary Sanders, Lauren Sanner, Brenna Skallet, Katie Spokely, Matt Stavens, and Bethany Van Eps.

When: August 6-10 & 13-17 at 7:30pm. August 11 at 2pm
Where: Empire Arts Center; 415 DeMers Avenue; Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $20 for students/military, $24 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at (701) 746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

Legally Blonde: The Musical is supported in part by the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau. This project also is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is also supported in part by a grant from the City of Grand Forks through the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region. Legally Blonde: The Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center.  The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold.  Legally Blonde: The Muscial is the Empire Theatre Company’s first show of the season, which also includes Elf: The Musical;The Moors; Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic; and Assassins.

Cult Favorite and (Current Broadway Sensation) to Play Empire Stage

Currently playing on Broadway, the hit Tony-nominated musical Be More Chill will be produced by the Empire Theatre Company at the Empire Arts Center June 20-22 and 27-29, 2019. 

This rare opportunity for local audiences to see a production at the exact same time it plays on Broadway was made possible by the foresight and leadership of the Empire Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Chris Berg.  Berg selected this production for the Empire stage last year, before it exploded in popularity and opened on Broadway.  The production features music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, book by Joe Tracz, and is based on the novel by Ned Vizzini.

In the words of Be More Chill’s Tony-nominated composer, Joe Iconis, “It’s…a musical that celebrates people who feel like misfits, losers, underdogs.”  It follows the story of Jeremy Heere, just an average teenager. That is, until he finds out about “The Squip” – a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most: a date with Christine, an invite to the raddest party of the year and a chance to survive life in his suburban New Jersey high school. But is being the most popular guy in school worth the risk?

The creative team for Be More Chill includes:  Chris Berg, director; Katy Bushaw, stage manager; Keith Teepen, musical director; Mitchell Rieth, sound design; and Amy Lyste, costume and set design.  The production features regional actors Christopher Knutson, Casey Hennessy, Chloe Bellione, Erin Chaves, Natalie Miranda Shea, Katie Germain, Justin Dela Cruz, Zachary Sanders, Nicholas Schons, and Walter Criswell.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Be More Chill is presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals.  Tickets are available at the Empire Arts Center Box Office by calling 701-746-5500 or by visiting www.empireartscenter.com.

Best Selling Novel to Come to Life on the Empire Stage

The Empire Theatre Company will present The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time based on the best selling novel by Mark Haddon opening April 17th.

This thrilling play follows the story of 15-year-old Christopher. He has an extraordinary brain. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. Finding himself under suspicion for the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. His detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a thrilling journey that upturns his world.

Director of the play Kathleen Coudle-King shares, "While The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time seems to be about a teenage boy on the Autism Spectrum and a mystery he tries to solve, it's also about parenting, and how so often parents feel ill equipped to parent any child. They don't come with an instruction manual, and even if they did that manual would not be appropriate for every child. In the play, the parents don't always make good choices, but they are doing their best and they have real love for their son. He, on the other hand, is on his own journey to gain confidence in this world in spite of his personal challenges. It's a beautiful play that anyone who has a parent, or parented will relate to, which would include all of us!"

With April being Autism Awareness Month, the Empire reached out to The Arc, Upper Valley. “The Arc, Upper Valley, in partnership with other community providers, will be available every night of the play to answer questions about Autism Spectrum Disorder and to share information about services that are available in our community,” says Rachel Hafner, Executive Director of The Arc, Upper Valley.

The creative team for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time includes: Kathleen Coudle-King, director; Marcus Woodard, stage manager; Chuck Baskerville, lighting designer; Sara Larson, light technician; Matt Opsahl, sound designer; Amy Lyste, costumer; Spencer Carmichael, animal handler; violin and viola, Tamara Auer. This production features regional actors Walter Criswell, Amy Driscoll, Tyler Folkedahl, Melissa Gjellstad, Denny Jacobs, Darin Kerr, Courtney Miller, Brenna Skallet, Kelly Stagnaro, and Matt Stavens.

When: April 17-20 & 23-27 at 7:30PM
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $15 for students/military, $19 for adults, **$5 for Xcel Energy Rush
**Rush tickets are limited and available at the door one hour prior to curtain. Rush tickets are cash only, and all members of your party must be present.
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Powerhouse cast to accompany powerhouse musical

The Empire Theatre Company will present the award winning rock musical Next to Normal opening February 6th.

This contemporary musical and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama offers an unflinching look at a suburban household as they cope with crisis and the unpredictability of a mother's worsening bipolar disorder. Next to Normal has been called one of the best musicals of the 21st century due to its brutally honest exploration of its dark, complex subject matter and its powerhouse contemporary rock score by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt.

The creative team for Next to Normal includes: Chris Berg, director; Maddie Sharpe, music director: Abigail Plumley, stage manager; Tyler Smith, sound technician. This production features regional and national actors Nathan Haltiwanger, Casey Hennessy, Darin Kerr, *Allison Mickelson, Lauren Sanner, and Randall Taylor.
*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract

When: February 6-9 & 12-16 6-8 at 7:30PM
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $20 for students/military, $24 for adults, **$5 for Xcel Energy Rush
**Rush tickets are limited and available at the door one hour prior to curtain. Rush
tickets are cash only, and all members of your party must be present
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported in part by a grant from the City of Grand Forks through the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region. Next to Normal is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.www.MTIShows.com.

Next to Normal is the Empire Theatre Company’s third show of their seventh season, which also includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time opening April 17th.

ABOUT THE EMPIRE ARTS CENTER

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Empire Arts Center is dedicated to promoting the arts in the greater Grand Forks community. The Empire provides a welcoming venue for local community organizations, as well as develops its own artistic programming such as the Empire Theatre Company and The 1919 Lounge. The Empire is also home to the UND Art Collections Gallery; exhibits from this collection have displayed works by renowned artists such as Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali.

Broadway Star Shoshana Bean Adds Grand Forks to National Tour

Hot out of London, celebrated singer, songwriter and Broadway star, Shoshana Bean, will debut at The 1919 Lounge with her fresh take on big band, jazz, and soul. In this intimate evening Bean will share songs from her newest chart-topping album, Spectrum. Inspired largely by Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, and Barbra Streisand, Bean will weave through haunting originals, new workings of contemporary hits and beloved classics.

A veteran of the Broadway stage, Bean made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray and starred as the very first replacement for Elphaba, the green-skinned witch, in Wicked. Most recently, she appeared as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and as Cee-Cee Bloom in the new musical adaptation of Beaches, for which she earned a Jeff Award Nomination for best lead actress in a musical.

The 1919 Lounge is a snazzy new venue on the Empire’s intimately transformed stage. This one-of-a-kind setting has seen the likes of Broadway stars Liz Callaway and Donna Vivino to Tony nominee and TV/film star Santino Fontana.

The 1919 Lounge has extremely limited seating. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance as tables are assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Table preferences can by made by calling the box office. For tickets call 701-746-5500 or visit www.empireartscenter.com.

Tickets*: $65 (*$10 food or beverage minimum) Lite bites and beverages handcrafted by Brick & Barley
When: September 30th & October 1st at 7:00pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201

This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Crane Group.

Disney Classic to Hit the Empire Stage

The Empire Theatre Company will open its seventh season with the classic tale, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. Filled with beloved songs like “Tale as Old as Time”, this production is a musical treat for the whole family. Disney’s Beauty & the Beast is generously sponsored by The Bob & Sally Clayburgh Family Foundation.

Based on Disney’s animated classic film, Beauty & the Beast tells the story of Belle, a beautiful, bright, and independent young French woman. Belle’s attempt to rescue her imprisoned father leads to her capture by the Beast, who was given his hideous form by an enchantress. The only way for the Beast to become human once again is if he learns to love and be loved in return before the last petals of his magical rose fall. The clock ticks and the Beast’s enchanted household watches anxiously - will they fall in love before it is too late?

The creative team for Disney’s Beauty & the Beast includes: Chris Berg, director; Amanda LeFloch, music director; Patrick Kasper, choreographer; Maddie Sharpe, stage manager; Walter Criswell, assistant stage manager; Amy Lyste, costumer; Chris Olsen, set designer; Tyler Smith, sound designer; and Cedar Remmen, lighting designer. This production features regional actors Floyd Althoff, AnneMarie Brack, Bailey Bradford, Seth Cline, Killian Coffinet-Crean, Mark Diers, Mirko Drago, Matt Dunham, Maura Ferguson, Anna Huck, Taylor Jung, Darin Kerr, Alex Kleven, Christopher Knutson, Daniella Lima, Ivy McGurran, Max Pickett, Abby Plumley, Cathleen Pollot, Daysha Ramsey, Nicque Robinson-Dela Cruz, Zachary Sanders, Lauren Sanner, Bethany Van Eps, and Eden Volk.

When: August 7-11 & 14-18 at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $16 for children 10 & under, $20 for students/military, $24 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast is supported in part by the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau. This program is supported in part by a grant from the City of Grand Forks through the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region. Disney's Beauty & the Beast is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center. The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold. Disney’s Beauty & the Beast is the Empire Theatre Company’s first show of the season, which also includes Scrooge in Rouge, Next to Normal, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Pulitzer Prize Finalist to Visit Grand Forks

Empire Theatre Company will present the time-hopping play, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, by Madeleine George, starting May 10th at the Empire Arts Center. This production is sponsored by Manstrom Photography.

Madeleine George’s play takes a look back at the various Watsons throughout history. Watson: trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; unstoppable super-computer that became reigning Jeopardy! champ; amiable techno-dweeb who, in the present day, is just looking for love. These four constant companions become one in this brilliantly witty, time-jumping, loving tribute (and cautionary tale) dedicated to the people-and machines-upon which we all depend.

Thanks to the generosity of the Dramatists Guild Foundation, Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George will be visiting Grand Forks to give a talkback following the opening night production on May 10th. During her visit to Grand Forks, Ms. George will also be visiting local classrooms and conducting workshops with high school students.

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence is directed by Nicque Robinson, and stage managed by Abby Plumley. This production features regional actors Stephanie Faatz Murry, Darin Kerr, and Matthew Murry.

When: May 10-12, 17-19, 24-26 at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $14 for students/military, $17 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center. The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold. The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence is the Empire Theatre Company’s sixth and final show of their sixth season.

Acclaimed Contemporary Farce to Open at the Empire Black Box Theater

Empire Theatre Company will present the contemporary musical farce, Melancholy Play, by Sarah Ruhl, opening March 8th at the Empire Arts Center. Melancholy Play features an all-star cast of regional actors with music by Michael Roth.

Melancholy Play centers on Tilly’s – you guessed it – melancholy. Although it is objectionable to her employer, it is oddly attractive to those around her. She finds herself surrounded by quirky friends and lovers who have fallen under its spell. But what happens when she suddenly wakes up wildly happy? Sarah Ruhl’s poetic writing is the counterpoint in this offbeat, poignant comedy about both the beauty and the sadness of life.

Melancholy Play is directed by Chris Berg, and stage managed by Katy Bushaw. This production features regional actors AnneMarie Brack, Darin Kerr, Misti Koop, Courtney Miller and Maddie Sharpe.

When: March 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $17 for students/military, $22 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center. The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold. Melancholy Play is the Empire Theatre Company’s fifth show of the season, which will conclude with The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence in May of 2018.

Star of Broadway's Les Miserables to Entertain Two Nights Only

One of Broadway’s leading ladies, Donna Vivino, will entertain two nights only at The 1919 Lounge at the Empire Arts Center in her solo show. As a special treat, Grand Forks’ own Keith Teepen will be joining her on piano. Ms. Vivino will share songs and stories from her career and beyond, making an evening so unforgettable, you might just forget you’re in Grand Forks.

Broadway fell in love with Donna when, at the age of eight, she created the role of Young Cosette in the original Broadway production of Les Miserables. Since then, she’s danced through the 70‘s (Saturday Night Fever), sung with the nicest kids in town (Hairspray), laughed it up with Martin Short (Fame Becomes Me), & defied gravity as one of Wicked’s most beloved Elphaba’s. In 2017 she received a 2017 LA Ovation Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Musical as Mary Flynn in Michael Arden's Merrily We Roll Along opposite Wayne Brady.

This is fourth time the Empire’s historic stage has been transformed into the intimate, one-of-a-kind setting known as The 1919 Lounge. In June of 2016, Broadway star Liz Callaway graced the stage, in February of 2017 crooner Tony DeSare entertained audiences over the Valentine’s weekend, and in September of last year Tony nominee and TV/film star Santino Fontana delighted two sold out crowds.

This event has extremely limited seating. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance as tables are assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Table preferences can by made by calling the box office. For tickets call 701-746-5500 or visit www.empireartscenter.com.

Tickets*: $55-$65 (*$10 food or beverage minimum) Lite bites and beverages handcrafted by Brick & Barley
When: February 16th & 17th at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201

Tony Nominated Dark Comedy Set to Open at Empire Black Box Theater

Empire Theatre Company will present the five-time Tony-nominated play, Hand to God, by Robert Askins, opening January 25th. Hand to God is “darkly delightful” and “flat-out hilarious” says The New York Times.

Askins’ Hand to God centers on young Jason. After the death of his father, Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry, in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. Jason’s complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and—most especially—his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason’s puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. Hand to God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us. Hand to God is not recommend for children.

Hand to God is directed by Chris Berg, and stage managed by Maddie Sharpe. This production features regional actors Harsha Praveen, Casey Hennessy, Darin Kerr, Abby Plumley, and Nicole Quam.

When: January 25-27, February 1-3 & 8-10 at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $14 for students/military, $17 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center. The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold. Hand to God is the Empire Theatre Company’s fourth show of the season, which also includes Melancholy Play, and The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence.

White Christmas Musical to Debut at the Empire this Thanksgiving

The Empire Theatre Company will present for the first time ever in Grand Forks the heartwarming musical, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, opening Thanksgiving weekend.
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, based on the 1954 film, tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, this holiday musical is a treat for the whole family. This event is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Bob & Sally Clayburgh Family Foundation.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas features the following regional actors: Robin Bartell, AnneMarie Brack, Walter Criswell, Justin Dela Cruz, Praveen Harshavardhan, Ella Grace Henry, Katie Kleven, Misti Koop, Daniella Lima, Meg Morley, Hyrum Patterson, Tony Peterson, Nicque Robinson, Lauren Sanner, Brenna Skallet, David Triptow. This production is directed by Matthew Murry, with music direction by Maddie Sharpe, choreography by Patrick Kasper, and stage management by Sarah Ringdahl.

When: November 24 & 25, 29-30, & December 1-2 at 7:30pm; November 26 & December 3 at 2:00pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $16 for children under 10 years old, $20 for students/military, $24 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center. The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is the Empire Theatre Company’s third show of the season, which also includes Passion Play, Melancholy Play, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence.

TV & Broadway Star to Debut at The 1919 Lounge

Tony nominee and TV/film star, Santino Fontana, will entertain two nights only at The 1919 Lounge at the Empire Arts Center in his solo show, “Santino Fontana Sings the American Songbook”.

With his rich voice, dynamic versatility, and charisma, Santino Fontana is one of Broadway’s favorite leading men. His literally charming performance as Prince Topher in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella earned him a Tony nomination and Audience Choice Award. Film and television fans will recognize him as the voice of another prince – the villainous Hans in Disney’s Frozen, as well as the overlooked singing barman, Greg, in the CW series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Other Broadway credits include Sunday in the Park with George, The Importance of Being Earnest, Brighton Beach Memoirs (Drama Desk Award), and Billy Elliot.

This is third time the Empire’s historic stage has been transformed into the intimate, one-of-a-kind setting known as The 1919 Lounge. In June of 2016, Broadway star Liz Callaway graced the stage, and in February of this year crooner Tony DeSare entertained audiences over the Valentine’s weekend.

This event has extremely limited seating. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance as tables are assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Table preferences can by made by calling the box office. For tickets call 701-746-5500 or visit www.empireartscenter.com.

Tickets*: $55-$65 (*$10 food or beverage minimum) Lite bites and beverages handcrafted by Brick & Barley
When: September 30th & October 1st at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201

This event is presented by The Bob & Sally Clayburgh Family Foundation. Additional support was provided by Aflac, the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau, RH Standard, Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Styling, Susan Nord Designs, & Thrivent Financial. This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Crane Group.

Musical Adaptation of Cult 80s Film to Open on Empire Stage

The Empire Theatre Company will present its second school-based musical of the new season, Heathers: The Musical, opening August 8th. Sponsored in part by the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau, Heathers delves into darker and more mature themes than Putnam County, revealing the nightmare that high school really can be.

Heathers: The Musical is a hilarious, heartfelt and homicidal new show. Based on the classic 1989 film, Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather and Heather, the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place - six feet under. This musical has mature content and may not be appropriate for children.

Heathers: The Musical
features the following regional actors: Seth Cline, Matt Dunham, Abigail Gilbert, Alexis Gordon, Casey Hennessey, Taylor Jung, Alex Kleven, Christopher Knudson, Zachary Lutz, Courtney Miller, Maxwell Pickett, Daysha Ramsey, Caleb Reich, Brenna Skallet, Maddie Sharpe, Gina Uhlir, Bethany Van Eps, and Emily Wirkus. This production is directed by Chris Berg, with music direction by David Henrickson, choreography by Patrick Kasper, and stage management by Abby Plumley.

When: August 8 –12, 15-19 at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $17 for students/military, $22 for adults
Purchase tickets weekdays at 701-746-5500 or anytime at www.empireartscenter.com.

The Empire Theatre Company is a program of the Empire Arts Center. The Empire Theatre Company’s mission is to produce contemporary plays and musicals that are well-crafted and bold. Heathers: The Musical is the Empire Theatre Company’s second show of the season, which also includes Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Passion Play, Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence.