A couple of Bismarck friends were out bicycling on the Maah Daah Hey Trail, just south of Medora, one hot summer afternoon when they noticed a sign that said “Lots For Sale.” The billboard was advertising locations for Badlands homes being offered by TRMF in the Sully Creek Subdivision. A lightbulb came on.
“We got this crazy idea to build a cabin,”
Kyle Leftwich said, and the pair, Kyle and his friend Kadon Hintz, went to visit TRMF President Randy Hatzenbuhler, and the next thing they knew they were framing up a summer getaway home in the Badlands. Read More »
Last summer in Medora, I told my wife, Laurie, “I am all in for Reese”.
Reese is our 4 ½-year-old grand-daughter. Laurie’s 33-year career in healthcare ended early in 2017. It was a transition for her, us – actually, it only took her 15 minutes to get used to retirement! Leading up to the summer season, the big question was whether she would spend the whole summer in Medora, or just weekends. Grand-children were a very important part of the decision. We are blessed to have our children and grandchildren living nearby. Read More »
Like Teddy’s original Rough Riders, Annual Members move the line forward each year to make Medora better for current and future generations.
The TRMF Annual Member program began a few years ago to bring our frequent visitors and best friends into a group that met once a year at the annual Rough Riders Roundup, talk about the future of Medora, and help support the day-to-day activities necessary to provide all our guests a great getaway experience.
My, how it’s grown! Now, 800-strong, our Annual Members add value to Medora in so many ways:Read More »
Originally published in Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundations 2015 summer newsletter.
Harold Schafer, Legend to Legacy
“I liked to go to musicals. When we took over the show, it was a historical play, and I think I should say I have a deeper appreciation for entertainment than historical plays.”
– Harold Schafer
Biographer Larry Woiwode, received this answer in 1994, when asked about the beginning of the “Medora Musical.” Prior to 1965, the NDSU Theater Department and a local group had been putting on a historical drama, but crowds had dwindled to the point where the show was abandoned. 50 years later, more than three million visitors agree with Harold—they love being musically entertained under the stars in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. Read More »
This weekend two of North Dakota’s largest cities were full of singin’ and boot swingin’ for performers auditioning to be part of this summer’s Medora Musical.
Producer/Director, Curt Wollan, of StageWest Entertainment, kicked off the audition tour in Bismarck and Fargo, giving North Dakota natives a chance to audition for the show, which entertains over 100,000 people per summer and has welcomed over 4 Million guests since 1965.
Each year around 1,000 singers and dancers from around the country audition for the Medora Musical. Performers who are selected bring exceptional vocals, energetic dancing and big personalities to the show.
That’s why, finding talent right here in our own backyard deserves a good ‘ol hoot and hollar!
Kat Perkins and Wade Westin in 2003
5 North Dakotan’s from the 2017 season
A number of North Dakota natives who’ve made the cast over the years, have then gone on to very successful careers in the music and performing industries. Often, they credit their time performing alongside the rest of the all-professional cast of the Medora Musical as a shaping experience — one that showed them the hard work, ever-improving talent, and perseverance needed to be successful in the business.
Some of the best-known success stories of North Dakota cast members include, Jared “Yodel Boy” Mason, who went on to star on Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet, Stomp! and other shows, and of course, most recently, Scranton’s own, Kat Perkins, went on to be a finalist on NBC’s The Voice after a five-year run as a Burning Hills Singer.
Jared “Yodel Boy” Mason
Kat Perkins performing in Medora
And these are just two of the stories of performers who got their start at an audition for the Medora Musical.
The Bismarck auditions brought out a good, talented group — and the performers had a lot to say! Check it out.
It was great to see previous Burning Hills Singer, Taylor Leet come out and support performers. Check out the tips Taylor shared!
Former Burning Hills Singer and current Medora Musical choreographer, Lexie Wollan, teaches the steps to a 2015 Medora Musical number.
Fargo auditions on Sunday attracted a lot of young talent. Two performers, featured below, attended Kat Perkin’s, Rising Star camp in Medora last summer!
The Medora Musical attracts top-level talent from around the nation. (Sometimes folks have to be told where, exactly, Medora is, but we kind of enjoy their surprise when they arrive for the first time!) The show has a great reputation and the production team is lucky to have create the show with so many stars over the years.
It draws performers like the aforementioned, Jared Mason and Kat Perkins. People like Tom Netherton, and David Soul, who after performing in the Medora Musical went on to star in the original Starsky and Hutch. And globe-trotting professional performers like our own “Queen of the West,” Emily Walter, current host of the Medora Musical, Chet Wollan and his wife, Candice Lively-Wollan, whose talent and professionalism serve as a guide for younger cast members each year — some of whom came out of these Bismarck and Fargo auditions.
We don’t know who will fill the boots of this year’s cast quite yet, but whatever the final roster is, based on what we saw at auditions so far and the history of Medora Musical talent, they’re sure to be EXCELLENT and they’re sure to help put on an INCREDIBLE show.
We’ll see you there. Don’t forget the popcorn. 😉
Additional audition stops include St. Paul, MN, on Jan 22, and Memphis, TN, in early February.
This year’s Medora Musical opens June 1, and tickets go on-sale in April. Mark your calendars and start planning your trip to see the Greatest Show in the West!
Performers interested in trying out for the Burning Hills Singers and Coal Diggers Band are welcome and encouraged to attend one of the auditions hosted at the dates and times below.
Members of the media are welcome at audition venues. Representatives from StageWest Entertainment — several of whom have also been cast members themselves — and auditionees, will be available for questions and comments.
~ January 20
Bismarck, ND at the Lynne Center, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, at 2:00pm
~ January 21
Fargo, ND, at the Buxton Choral Rehearsal Hall within the Hvidsten Hall of Music, Concordia College, at 1:00pm
~ January 22
St. Paul, MN, at North Garden Theatre, at 7:00pm
*All auditions except UPTA are first come, first served.
The professional cast of each season’s Medora Musical hails from all across the nation – with talented members of the cast often coming from the Show’s home state of North Dakota.
Each year over 1,000 performers audition for the show and each year’s cast is different than the previous.
Over the course of it’s 53 year history, the Medora Musical’s professional cast has been made up of a mixture of performers and musicians who have traveled the world performing on cruise lines, who’ve starred in Broadway productions, appeared on hit TV shows like TheVoice and even those who’ve launched their career in Medora and went on to enjoy an extremely successful career in entertainment.
Singers, dancers and musicians are required to prepare an up tempo and a ballad for the audition. Prospective performers should also bring sheet music in the correct key, a resume, and an 8×10 photo.
Experience a creative vacation in Medora this winter!
This event has been cancelled.
We will be holding another Spur Your Inner Artist June 5 – 8, 2018.
More details to come soon!
Join Barbara Benda Nagle, professional artist and instructor as she teaches “Spur Your Inner Artist with Drawing and Watercolor” workshop February 12-15th. A native of Wahpeton, ND, Barbara excels in simplifying art concepts so all levels of learners may succeed.
In this 4-day workshop, you will learn:
How to execute a variety of drawing and watercolor techniques
How to make sense of the color wheel and use it to your advantage
How to use “value” (lights and darks) to make paintings dramatic
How to design your painting rather than copy photographs
How to create strong, dynamic compositions
This workshop takes place in the state-of-the-art Bill and Jane Marcil Life Skills Center in Medora. Class size is limited – the first 15 registrants will secure a spot. Payment options vary from workshop only to the popular Stay and Paint package, which includes lodging at the historic Rough Rider Hotel.
Four past and present Medora performers will entertain audiences during 28 shows, in 22 communities, across 4 states this Nov. & Dec.
The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is pleased to announce that A Magical Medora Christmas variety show will tour this holiday season across North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota.
The family-friendly Christmas show will feature the musical talents of Emily Walter, Jared Mason, and Job Christenson, as well as the comedy and magic of Bill Sorensen.
(MEDORA, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation(TRMF) announced today that a bronze, life-size statue of Theodore Roosevelt will be unveiled in downtown Medora on Friday, October 27, to honor President Roosevelt, who was born on the same day in 1858.
A Press Conference and Statue Unveiling will be held:
Friday, October 27
Downtown Medora, in front of the Old Town Hall Theater
Members of the public and media are invited to join the event to see the unveiling, hear remarks, and take photos with the life-size statue. Read More »