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Broadway musical ‘Legally Blonde’ to light up Fritz stage on Monday

A look at events happening in Greater Grand Forks.

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Alejo Ibarra Pallotti (from left), Katie Kleven and Robert Cooper star in the Greater Grand Forks Theatre Company's production, "Puffs," which opens Thursday, Feb. 9, at Fire Hall Theatre.
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GRAND FORKS — The Broadway musical “Legally Blonde, the Musical” is coming to the Fritz Auditorium on Monday, Feb. 13. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.

In an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend, the musical's lead character, Elle Woods, follows him to Harvard Law School, where she enrolls too. As a law student, she garners very little acceptance, due to her frivolous nature and love of all things pink, and she is underestimated by nearly everyone she meets. But Elle discovers her knowledge of the law can help others, and she surprises everyone by successfully defending the local exercise queen in a murder trial.

The play is based on a novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name.

Tickets are available at the Chester Fritz Auditorium box office at 3475 University Ave.; charge by phone through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; or online at www.ticketmaster.com .

For more information, visit the Fritz website, www.cfa.und.edu or call the box office at (701) 777-4090 or 800-375-4068.

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Fire Hall Theatre to present ‘Puffs’

“Puffs,” described as a “hilarious fast-paced comedy,” opens Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Fire Hall Theatre. Performances are planned for 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, Feb. 9-11, 16-18 and 23-25 and 2 p.m. on Sundays, Feb. 12 and 19.

“Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic” is a parody of the Harry Potter book series. It is “a funny and affectionate homage to J.K. Rowling’s world of wiz kids,” said Diane Snyder in a TimeOut.com review.

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Robert Cooper (from left), Alejo Ibarra Pallotti and Katie Kleven pose, as though in a mirror, for the fast-paced comedy, "Puffs," which runs for the next three weekends at the Fire Hall Theatre in downtown Grand Forks.
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The play was nominated for the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for “Best Unique Theatrical Experience” in 2017. It is not intended for children, and is rated “PG” for language and some adult situations, said Amy Driscoll, executive director of the Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for seniors (65 and older), students and military. They may be purchased by visiting the Fire Hall website, www.ggfct.com , or by calling (701) 746-0847.

‘Rider Idol’ to showcase Red River talent

The public is welcome to attend the “Rider Idol” competition at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Red River High School Performance Hall.

Admission is $5, payable by cash or check at the door. No reservations will be taken.

The event will feature 15 acts; audience members vote for their top three favorite acts, said Allison Peterson, director of the school district’s Summer Performing Arts Company. The competition is open to all students in grades 9-12.

The top five winners will advance to the “Grand Cities Idol,” tentatively planned for April 24, when the top five acts of Red River, Grand Forks Central and East Grand Forks high schools will perform, Peterson said. The audience will vote for that winner too.

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This year, RRHS groups are performing pop and country songs, as well as contemporary songs, and one student has written his own piece, she said.

“It is a really fun event (which) sometimes features students that aren’t in choir or involved in the musicals,” Peterson said, “so it reveals some hidden talents from students that people may not be aware of.”

UND to host Met Opera auditions

The public is invited to come and listen as 20 singers from this region and beyond participate in the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Vocal Competition on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the UND Hughes Fine Arts Center.

The event, which begins at 11 a.m. in the Josephine Campbell Recital Hall, is free for audience members. It is expected to conclude with announcement of the winners at about 4 p.m., said G. Paul Larson, who is helping to organize the competition.

Three judges, who are associated with the Metropolitan Opera but not from this area, are authorized to adjudicate the competition for the Met, Larson said.

Among the 20 competitors are vocalists from North Dakota, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said Anne Christopherson, associate professor of voice in the UND music department. Five competitors are from Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Ontario and Saskatchewan provinces in Canada and others are from Seoul, Korea, and Stockholm, Sweden, Christopherson said.  

Winners are given cash prizes. The first prize winner advances to the regional competition in the Twin Cities, Larson said.

Christopherson; Tiffany Ford, state director of the North Dakota Small Business Development Network at UND; and Royce Blackburn, a former UND music faculty member, serve on the Met audition committee, Larson said.

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Blackburn, who is serving his final year as director of the district, is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Iowa. Christopherson and Justin Montigne, a new voice faculty member at UND, will serve as co-directors of the district after Blackburn steps down.

‘Fight the Frost’ event to fill Alerus

Looking for a place to let your kids run off some excess energy? Consider the “Fight the Frost” event on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 10-12, at the Alerus Center.

The indoor playground will be open 3-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Activities, all taking place in the Alerus’ main arena, will include 40 inflatables and interactive games such as massive obstacle courses, a mechanical bull, Wiped Out and Toxic Meltdown.

New attractions for this year’s event include inflatable mini golf, Connect 4, Lighthunter, and a five-station trampoline. A designated “Kiddie Lane” will be available for children ages five and younger.

Daily wristbands are $10 for children, ages 5 and younger, and $16 for anyone age 6 and older. Weekend wristbands are $25 for all ages. Wristbands will be sold at the door the day of the event, and before the event at the Alerus Center Box Office or www.Ticketmaster.com .

Arts for Vets ‘RED’ exhibit opens Sunday

The Arts for Vets program will host receptions for the exhibition “RED” from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at its gallery, Arts Center Grand Forks, at 215 N. Third St.

Both receptions will feature food, wine and music, said Kim Forness Wilson, executive director of Arts for Vets.

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Brenda Baumer's painting "Heart" will be displayed as part of the "RED" exhibit opening Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Arts Center Grand Forks, 215 N. Third St. The exhibit will include contemporary, Impressionist, abstract and plein air artworks.
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On Sunday, Ron Franz, of Grand Forks, will be the guest musician. On Tuesday, Dave Wilson, with Root River Jam of Rochester, Minnesota, will be performing, and Dan Widman, from the Widman’s candy store, will be bringing treats, Wilson said.

Sunday’s event marks the opening of an exhibition featuring works of art by “celebrated regional artists” from communities including Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Neche and Gilby, North Dakota; Crookston, Minnesota; and others, she said.

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This painting, "Are You in Town Tonight?" by Senta Grzadzielewski, along with other artworks, will be for sale at the "RED" exhibit opening Sunday, Feb. 12, and running through March 31 at the Arts Center Grand Forks at 215 N. Third St.
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The artwork to be displayed covers a wide range of styles, including contemporary, Impressionist, abstract and plein air, and every type of medium — all feature the color red and all artwork will be for sale.

The public is invited to come and “enjoy the passion, fire and pulse of the color red,” Wilson said in a news release. “Turn up the heat with artistic interpretations of emotions, experience, fantasies and dreams of the world’s most luscious color.”
The gallery is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays; and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, contact Wilson at (701) 330-3072 or send an email to artsforvets@gmail.com .

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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