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Misti Koop spotlighted in Empire Theatre Company’s Holiday Show


The Empire Theatre Company in Grand Forks is hoping to start a new tradition this holiday season with the homegrown Holiday Show, complete with professional singers, dancers, and musicians from the area. And who better to spotlight than professional musical performer, Misti Koop?

Misti grew up on stages in East Grand Forks and Grand Forks. Regional theatre lovers may have caught Misti’s enthusiastic performances at Fort Totten Little Theater, Frost Fire, and seven summers of the Medora Musical. After graduating from the University of ND with a Masters in Theatre Arts, Koop moved to NYC, toured with Jesus Christ Superstar, and in 2012-2013 she performed on the Norwegian Cruise Ship, “The Epic,” which is where this year’s Holiday Show takes place.

The Holiday Show, conceived by Empire Theatre Company’s Managing Artistic Director, Kathleen Coudle-King is “a bit like those charming ’60s and ’70’s TV holiday shows, which brought the entire family around the TV set in the living room,” said Coudle-King. “There’s music, dancing, story telling, and a few cheesy jokes. Oh, and Santa himself makes an appearance. We wanted to create an event that would showcase the incredible local talent we have in the region, be family friendly, and also affordable.” Coudle-King reached out to Misti Koop to see if she’d be interested in having a show built around her.

Misti immediately thought of the year she was some 1,700 miles away from home in the middle of the Caribbean on board a ship. Misti recalls missing everything that makes this time of year so special: The food, finding the perfect gift for people you love, decorating the tree, singing in church. and especially her family. So, Koop set to work creating a script that would evoke similar memories for the audience.

Coudle-King went to work inviting other local performance groups to join Misti on stage. The ND Ballet Company will perform several numbers, including a “Rockette-style” kick-line, and Dr. Joel Pugh is directing the UND Low Brass Ensemble at each performance. “There is a very special tuba solo that is sure to amaze people,” said Coudle-King. Misti is joined on stage by AnneMarie Brack, Walter Criswell, Katie Germain, and Paul Tandberg; and three local youth, Mirko and Mila Drago, and Emma Lyste. Misti’s musical connections enabled her to assemble the “Cruise Ship Quartet”: Matthew Fowler, Mark Diers, Mark Lentz, and Joseph McCauley.

The Holiday Show runs seven performances at the historic Empire Theatre in downtown Grand Forks, Nov. 26-27, Dec. 2-4 at 7 p.m; Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. Seating is limited so the audience can social distance, should they choose to do so. Tickets are $22, and $18 for seniors/students with valid I.D., and $16 for youth 12 and younger. Group tickets for 20 or more can also be arranged by calling 701-746-5500. Tickets are also on sale at .

The Holiday Show is co-produced with Alerus Financial, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. This program is also supported by a grant from the City of Grand Forks through the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region, as well as a grant from the ND Council on the Arts, through funding made possible by the ND state legislature.

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