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.

The Empire Theatre Co.'s Sixth Season to open with Tony Award Winning Musical

The Empire Theatre Company will present the riotous Tony Award-winning musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, opening June 29th. Sponsored in part by the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Putnam County is that rarity of rarities, a super smart show that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser,” says the The Wall Street Journal.

In this musical, an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves!

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee stars the following regional actors: Walter Criswell, Darin Kerr, Alex Kleven, Leo Lakpa, Daniella Lima, Evan Montgomery, Maxwell Pickett, Bethany Springs, Mackenzie Teepen, and Gina Uhlir. This production is directed by Chris Berg, with music direction by Keith Teepen and stage management by Maddie Sharpe.

When: June 29 – July 1, July 6-8, July 13-15 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. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee open’s the Empire Theatre Company’s sixth season, which also includes the following productions: Heathers: The Musical, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Passion Play, Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence.

Three Grand Forks Arts Nonprofits Selected for Multi-State Program

Northern Valley Youth Orchestras (NVYO), Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre, and the Empire Arts Center are three of six nonprofit arts organizations from North Dakota that have been chosen to participate in the peer learning community program, ArtsLab.

ArtsLab, a core program of Arts Midwest in collaboration with local partners, is a seven-month course for artists and arts organization leadership, which explores concepts around leadership development, financial and resource development models, and organizational infrastructure.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for NVYO to learn from our peers in the nonprofit arts world, and we are grateful for the support and confidence in our organization shown by NDCA and ArtsLab,” said Naomi Welsh, Executive Director of Northern Valley Youth Orchestras.

Through the ArtsLab program Arts Midwest seeks to ensure that cultural leaders across the Midwest have the skills, ideas, and networks needed to flourish. “The Empire Arts Center is extremely proud of the work we have done in the Greater Grand Forks community, especially in recent years, however we are excited to move forward and continue to improve as an arts organization with the help of ArtsLab,” said Emily Montgomery, Executive Director of the Empire Arts Center.

The program includes monthly virtual workshops and two, two and a half day retreats in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where the selected organizations from North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa will participate in intensive training sessions. In total, this program is an approximately $15,000 investment of support, training and resources in the Greater Grand Forks community by the Arts Midwest and the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

"We are delighted to take part in this opportunity and look forward to learning additional best practices for nonprofit arts groups as we enter our 70th season," said Kathy Coudle-King, Executive Director of the Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre.

ArtsLab is anchored in the belief that arts and culture are essential to vibrant communities. ArtsLab believes fundamental to ensuring resiliency is to instill new ways of thinking and new management habits, by offering in-depth training on shaping sustainable business practices. “I was thrilled to learn that the Empire and Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre were accepted into the program as well! This will be an excellent opportunity for the performing arts in Grand Forks to share ideas with each other and with arts groups across the Midwest,” said Welsh.

For more information about the chosen Grand Forks organizations visit their websites at: www.novyo.org; www.ggfct.com; www.empirartscenter.com. For more information about ArtsLab and Arts Midwest visit www.artsmidwest.org.

A Peter Pan Prequel to Come to Life at the Empire

Empire Theatre Company will present the cheeky, charming musical play, Peter and the Starcatcher, running through March 18th. Sponsored by Xcel Energy, this prequel to Peter Pan is sure to entertain audiences of all ages.

Winner of five Tony Awards, this musical play takes a hilarious romp through the Neverland you never knew. Peter and the Starcatcher is the innovative and imaginative play based on the best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This hilarious story will take you on a journey where you’ll discover the answer to the century-old question: How did Peter Pan become The Boy Who Never Grew Up?

Peter and the Starcatcher is directed by Stephanie Faatz Murry, music directed by Maddie Sharpe, and stage managed by C.J. Leigh with lighting design by Cedar Remmen, and costume design by Amy Sanner. This production features regional and local actors Justin Dela Cruz, Nicque Robinson-Dela Cruz, Karter Dolan, Jessica Hunold, Taylor Jung, Misti Koop, Tim McCoy, Hyrum Patterson, Nikki Quam, Lauren Sanner, Maddie Sharpe, Bethany Springs, and Mackenzie Teepen.

When: March 16-18 at 7:30pm
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave Grand Forks, ND 58201
Tickets: $12 for children under 12, $17 for students and 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. Peter and the Starcatcher is the fourth production in ETC’s fifth season, which will come to a close in April with the intimate play, Blackbird.

Acclaimed Crooner to Delight in Time for Valentine's Day

Acclaimed vocalist, pianist and composer Tony DeSare will present a post-modern version of the New York nightclub shows of the 1950s at The 1919 Lounge at the Empire Arts Center.

This one-of-a-kind event will take place in an intimate, transformed setting on the Empire’s historic stage, with lite bites and beverages handcrafted by Brick & Barley. DeSare will explore some of the most hauntingly beautiful and memorable melodies ever written from Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Willie Nelson to name a few, as well as some new DeSare originals.

The 1919 Lounge held its inaugural event in June of last year with Broadway star Liz Callaway. The Empire plans to continue to deliver this unique nightlife experience several times per season, with the goal of bringing acclaimed cabaret artists to Grand Forks’ doorstep.
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*: $45-$55 (*$10 food or beverage minimum)