Brand new talent joins seasoned professionals for 2017 show
Former Bismarck Mayor and long-time performer, Bill Sorensen, will make his return to the Medora Musical this June, to perform alongside the new host of the show, Chet Wollan, and a cast full of talent from across the country – including five other North Dakotans from Dickinson, Bismarck, and Fargo, and Grand Forks.
Sorensen’s return comes a year later than expected. In the spring of 2016 – just as he was preparing to start rehearsals – he was diagnosed with an aggressive throat cancer and elected to undergo treatment that could damage his vocal chords and take him off the stage forever.
In what could be called a touch of the “Medora Miracle,” Sorensen’s months-long treatment went extremely well and, today, he is preparing to return to the stage of the Medora Musical once more.
Sorensen, looking toward the season comments, “You know, looking at the whole situation, and thinking of this summer, I’m happy to have another chance to hit the stage with the whole cast, to perform in front of 100, maybe 120,000 people, and this year, to get to do it with a bunch of really, really talented performers from right here in North Dakota.
“It’s not often we get this many North Dakotans in the show,” he continues. “My role doesn’t sing, but for the others, the talent level has to be so high not just vocally, but also their dancing and acting, and the competition at the auditions comes from all over the country. So to be a part of the show this year is really special.”
Two of the newest North Dakotans to join the cast are Taylor Leet, of Bismarck, and Alyssa Scott, a Fargo native.
Leet, who completed her BA in Vocal Performance at Columbia College in Chicago before returning home, comments about her first year in the show, “I am thrilled to be part of the Medora Musical this year! After years of attending the musical, I look forward to finally being on stage doing what I love.
“I’m excited more than anything to begin rehearsals,” she continued. “I have been prepping for this mentally, vocally, and physically, and look forward to meeting the other cast members!”
Scott, from her base in the Twin Cities where she has been working as a musician for the last several years, echoes the excitement, “I’m beyond excited to be a part of the Medora Musical this year! It’s a childhood dream of mine, and thinking about the rehearsals starting gets me anxious and nervous at the same time.
“I’ve just been trying to prepare myself for a lot of hard work this summer, as well as a lot of excitement that will come with meeting fun, new people. It’s going to be an awesome experience to remember and I can’t wait for the summer to start!”
Scott, Leet, and Sorensen join fellow North Dakotans Damon Fichter, of Dickinson; Misti Koop, of Grand Forks; and Zach Schmidtz, of Bismarck; plus, Indiana native but student at Dickinson State University, Klayton Hinshaw.
In addition to many new cast members, from North Dakota and across the country, a number of veteran professionals will return in 2017. The ever animated, Ken Quiricone, and vocal powerhouse, Candice Lively-Wollan, return this year in leading roles. British pedal steel guitar player, Roger Rettig, returns this year as well.
Sorensen, whose good-natured razzing of Roger Rettig was a fan favorite in 2015, wraps up with a grin and a chuckle, “You know, I think I’d like to amend my previous comments; I’m really excited to be in the cast with everyone except Roger. I have cardboard cutouts that would look better and sound about the same.”
Bill and Roger’s on-stage antics are sure to continue this summer.
Over one thousand performers auditioned at locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Tennessee.
Lead Roles of the Medora Musical
- Chet Wollan – Host – “Cowboy Chet”
Strawberry Plains, TN, by way of St. Anthony, MN
- Bill Sorensen – Co-Host – “Wild West Prestidigitator”
- Candice Lively-Wollan – Burning Hills Singer/Co-Host
Strawberry Plains, TN
- Ken Quiricone – Burning Hills Singer/Co-Host
Burning Hills Singers
- Jessica Bradish Des Moines, IA — returning
- Damon Fichter Dickinson, ND – returning
- Klayton Hinshaw Ft. Wayne, IN – returning
- Misti Koop Grand Forks, ND – returning
- Dustin LaFleur Lafayette, LA
- Taylor Leet Bismarck, ND
- Christie Robinson Bucksport, ME
- Jake Rura Fishers, IN
- Alyssa Scott Fargo, ND
- Matthew Stairs Casper, WY
Coal Diggers Band
- Andrew Crowe, Fiddle Franklinton, NC
- Brandon Fillette, Piano Weddington, NC
- Perry Orfanella, Bass Carmel, NY
- Zach Schmidtz, Drums Bismarck, ND
- Roger Rettig, Pedal Steel London, England
- Adam Vogel, Guitar Melrose, MN
The 2017 Medora Musical and Pitchfork Steak Fondue open June 2.
Tickets for the Medora Musical go on sale April 18 only at Medora.com
The 2017 Medora Musical Variety Acts will be announced in the coming weeks.