For the past 51 years, the Medora Musical as we know it today has been entertaining audiences from across the country. The musical has come a long way since the original Old Four-Eyes show at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in 1958 and the production of Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again – A Medora Musical in 1965. So how did the original show compare to the one we all know and love today?
First, the singers and dancers in the original production of Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again – A Medora Musical in 1965 were called the “Medora Kids” and were known by that name through 1972. The next year the producer changed the name to one we’re all familiar with today, the “Burning Hills Singers.”
Nowadays, our beloved Burning Hills Singers are accompanied by a live band known as the Coal Diggers. Things weren’t always that way, though. The live on-stage band was first introduced in 2000 and before that, the musicians were hidden inside the train depot. In fact, it used to be just organ music played by Jim Kennedy, who was around for many years.
Other notable familiar faces at the Medora Musical include David Solberg and Tom Netherton. These two Burning Hills Singers went on to work in the television business. Solberg changed his name to David Soul and starred in the hit TV series Starsky and Hutch while Netherton gained fame on the Lawrence Welk Show.
While the Medora Musical sees many people come and go from season to season, there has always been a sense of consistency at the core. In all of the Medora Musical‘s history, there have only been two producers: Fred Smith and our current producer, Curt Wollan.
As you can tell, there are a lot of people that go into producing the musical each year, but we can’t forget the most important people: YOU! Without our guests, we would not be able to keep putting on the Medora Musical year after year. In fact, approximately 3 million people have been entertained at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre since it opened in 1958!
Clearly the Medora Musical has experienced a lot of changes throughout the years, but it still remains true to the original vision of Harold Schafer. There is no doubt that the musical will continue to grow and entertain us for many years still to come!