Cabaret in Grand Forks

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Santino Fontana performance
Santino Fontana’s performance at The 1919 Lounge. Photo courtesy of Empire Arts Center.

The 1919 Lounge at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota delivered an unforgettable experience with two nights of performances by Santino Fontana, a Tony-nominated and Broadway actor and singer. In a transformed setting at the Empire’s historic stage, world-class performers captivate, celebrate, and inspire. By bringing Santino Fontana, Empire was able to enlighten their community with this cabaret performance. It brought people together in an intimate setting, connecting with the art and each other.

“Thank you so much for bringing artists like Santino to Grand Forks! It felt like I was at the Cafe Carlyle in New York. I deserved this. We deserve this!”
— Audience member

Bringing an artist of Santino Fontan’s caliber to this community was made possible by the support from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund. It allowed Empire Arts Center to take a leap to present a higher-quality artist and bridge the financial gap. Empire Arts Center was encouraged and challenged to deepen their relationship with a neighboring school, Central High School. Prior to the performance, the Center’s staff visited with students to discuss cabaret and connect them with other artists like Santino Fontana. The outcome was rewarding, and the Center will continue to build upon this relationship in the future.

“We appreciated that a requirement of the program was to conduct a community outreach activity. As a small organization, it is easy to get absorbed by the details. Taking time to connect with our neighboring school and deepening this relationship with teachers and students was invaluable.”
— Empire Arts Center