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John Lamb, Published April 03 2013

Moorhead native Gulsvig gets first solo, feature-length concert at NDSU

FARGO – Moorhead native Becky Gulsvig is finally getting her wish – a hometown show.

A 12-year veteran of touring musicals, Gulsvig has her first solo, feature-length concert Saturday night at Askanase Hall, North Dakota State University.

“I had wanted to do this sort of thing back home for a while. And I’d like to do more back home. I’d like to play the Fargo Theatre, or that sort of venue,” the singer says from her home in New Jersey. “This is a perfect step to try it out, have a really enjoyable evening, singing songs I like and having my friends and family able to come.”

Gulsvig will reprise numbers from her stage career (“So Much Better” from “Legally Blond: The Musical” and “On My Own” from “Les Miserables,” her most recent production) as well as musical favorites from “The Sound of Music,” “Wicked,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

A regular at Trollwood and Moorhead High School productions until she graduated and moved to New York in 2000, Gulsvig’s only concert here was a 30-minute set opening for Adam Pascal, star of the Broadway version of “Rent,” in 2011.

At that time, she was back working with young theater students performing “Rent.”

Last summer she taught a musical theater intensive lesson with NDSU professor Katherine Noone at Trollwood leading up to the performing arts summer school’s performance of “Legally Blond: The Musical.”

Gulsvig says Noone suggested the show and a master class with NDSU students, some of whom will lend a hand, or a voice, as will Noone, at Saturday’s performance.

“It’s great to work with young people, especially young people back home because I can give them insight into what it’s like out there and hopefully give them a leg up,” she says.

Most of the show will be just Gulsvig and a pianist, somewhat limiting the singer’s selections. For example, her only offering from “Legally Blond,” the starring role that landed her spots on The Tony Awards broadcast, “The View,” “Today” and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is “So Much Better.”

“(It) is the only song I can ever do from ‘Legally Blond’,” she says. “I wish there were more songs I can do, but it’s the only number that works on my own. All of (the character Elle Woods’) songs are done with someone else or done with large groups and they don’t really work in a concert setting, so I’m kind of stuck with doing ‘So Much Better’ for the end of time. But it’s alright. It’s a fun song and people will enjoy it.”

Maybe not everybody.

While the room will be full of family, friends and fans, Gulsvig can’t shake her biggest critic – her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Hazel.

“She tells me to stop singing,” the actor says with a laugh. “She doesn’t think I’m all that hot yet and maybe she never will.”

She would be in the minority with that opinion.

If you go

If you go

What: Becky Gulsvig, Live at Askanase Hall

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Askanase Hall, NDSU

Info: Free admission, but donations for NDSU theater scholarship fund accepted. (701) 231-7969

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533