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Meet the cast of this year’s Medora Musical!

Hosts Chet Wollen and Bill Sorensen to lead star-studded Medora Musical cast made up of returning talent, new performers, and several North Dakota natives!

Each year thousands of performers audition at locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Florida to find the best talent for the Medora Musical. So let’s meet the cast!


The 2019 Medora Musical, Hosts


Chet Wollan, a Medora favorite is back to host the Medora Musical. Chet (pictured above) is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota but now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with Princess of the Prairie, Candice Lively Wollan. 

This will be Chet’s fourth year hosting the Medora Musical and his 13th year starring in the show. 


Bill Sorensen will return to the Medora Musical for his “final ride” co-hosting. Bill has been performing in Medora for the past 40 years as a magician, comedian, and entertainer. Don’t miss this dynamic duo together on stage this summer!

Read the full press release here about Bill Sorensen’s time in Medora, and what’s next for Wild Bill.

The Burning Hills Singers! 

Jessica Bradish is from Des Moines, Iowa and has starred as a vocal powerhouse in the Medora Musical for the past four years.

Andrea DeVriendt is making her Medora Musical debut from Madison, Wisconsin.

Rachel Endrizzi is coming from Cleveland, Ohio to make her debut as a Burning Hills Singer.

Misti Koop is a North Dakota native from Grand Forks and a fan favorite. She has starred as a Burning Hills Singer for the past six years with a number of featured roles during her time in the Medora Musical.

Kevin Korczynski is from Bel Air, Maryland. He has starred in the Medora Musical for seven seasons.

Taylor Leet, from Bismarck, North Dakota, is back! Taylor first starred in the Medora Musical in 2016 and is back for her fourth season.

Tryton Landsiedel, from Bismarck, North Dakota will star in his very first Medora Musical this year! Tryton has honed his skills as a Kat Perkins Rising Star Camper, then Junior Camp Director and is now ready to make his debut as a Burning Hills Singer.

Ben Massouras is from Phoenix, Arizona and first starred as a Burning Hills Singer last season.

Ken Quiricone comes to Medora from Stratford, Connecticut. This will be Ken’s eighth year as a Burning Hills Singer. Ken has played feature roles in the Medora Musical including the one and only, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.

Gerry Williams is from Durham, North Carolina and previously starred in the Medora Musical in 2013 and 2014.

Candice Lively Wollan, the “Princess of the Prairie”, comes to us from Strawberry Plains, Tennessee for her ninth year as a Burning Hills Singer. Candice’s absolutely superb vocals have made her a fan favorite for years and audiences will again be graced by her talent in this year’s Medora Musical!

Jon Woodruff comes from White Bear Lake, Minnesota. He first made his debut in the Medora Musical last year and is back for another season of the “Greatest Show in the West!”

The Coal Diggers Band!

Andrew Crowe returns to the Medora Musical bandstand as the Bandleader and Fiddle player from Raleigh, North Carolina. Andrew also plays harmonica, guitar, and anything basically anything else you can think of. Hand him a hand saw – he’s played it before.

Junior Mercer is from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and is returning to the Medora Musical as the pedal steel player.

Perry Orfanella joins the Coal Diggers Band for his second season as the bass player from Carmel, New York.

Adam Vogel from Melrose, Minnesota returns as guitarist.

Carson Hooley joins the Coal Diggers Band as a drummer.

Travis Smith is coming from Columbus, Ohio to play keyboards and be the vocal captain.


Here’s What’s Next in Medora: Point To Point Park

Originally Published in the 2019 Spring Newsletter

We’ve been looking at that big open space beside the Badlands Motel, as you first arrive in Medora, for many years, wondering “What would be the best use of that land?”

Finally, we’ve settled on an answer to that question: Welcome to Point to Point Park!

Named for Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite game, we’re creating a brand new place for families to enjoy the Badlands together—a perfect downtown Medora destination for adventurers of all ages.

The Park will have a combination of free and ticketed attractions, including all-new mini golf, Medora’s own “slant house,” a zero-entry pool and 400 foot long lazy river, a community splash pad, a kid-friendly “jump pillow,” and shade structures. And, what is sure to become one of Medora’s main attractions, a Badlands Zipline Ride.

We’ve been talking about a Medora Zipline ever since a few of the participants in our 2007 TRMF sponsored Panama Canal cruise tried one, on one of our cruise stops. We thought the North Dakota Badlands would be a perfect place for such an attraction. So here we go! The Zipline will run up and down the big butte behind the Badlands Motel.

The Point to Point Park will tuck in between the motel and the existing Children’s Park, as well as in the big vacant space beside the motel. It will be the first thing families see when they arrive in town, and for many it will be the first stop on their Medora adventure.

It’s the newest in a series of major investments in Medora to enhance and expand the experience our visitors and guests have.

The idea and concept is driven in large part by the longheld awareness of the need to create attractions and attractors for what we have come to call the “missing middle,” young people in their teens and their families. The new park is just the attraction young families and grandparents have been waiting for.

This park will also encourage the “more adventurous” members of the family to experience the picturesque buttes by taking a marked climbing route to the top of the Badlands overlooking Historic Medora, where they’ll find native geology and vegetation, and the park may one day showcase the remarkable personalities of Medora through statues or other historic preservation ideas.

It will also offer the community and its visitors nearly 100 new paved parking spaces. Although geared toward a younger crowd, the entire experience will be enjoyed and utilized by young and old.

It will be a place to socialize, to relax, to exercise and simply play together, surrounded by the beauty of the Badlands and the history of Medora.

As with our other major projects, we’re seeking sponsors for this new attraction. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Joslyn Tooz, our Major Gifts Officer at: 701-223-4800, or e-mail her at joslynt@medora.com

To read the rest of the Spring 2019 Newsletter follow this link.

Bill Sorensen’s Final Ride

Long-time Medora entertainer to co-host the Medora Musical for a final time

(MEDORA, ND) Bill Sorensen is a household name around Medora, and this summer, you’ll get to see him on stage at the Medora Musical one last time, co-hosting for his final season alongside a star-studded cast.

“Medora has been a place of great importance to me. I watched my daughters grow up here, I myself have grown in this place with these people, and whether I’m performing for five people of 2,000 people I am always grateful for the experience,” remarks Bill.

Bill first stepped on stage as co-host in 2013 with Queen of the West, Emily Walter. One of his favorite memories of co-hosting came from him sharing the stage with Emily. One hot night they were performing a scene in which Emily shot his pants off and come to find out he had forgotten to wear his long johns underneath that night – he says he has never seen Emily laugh that hard while on stage.

Bill began a battle with cancer which removed him from the stage for the 2016 season but in 2017 he returned guns a blazin with a new co-host, Chet Wollan. He and Chet have a natural on stage chemistry that is the perfect mix of humorous and playful.

“Sometimes Chet gets this little glimmer in his eye and it reminds me of when he was a little kid and I just think to myself, here we go, we’re going off script,” Bill recalls.

While this is his last season in the Medora Musical, he plans to still be around this awesome little place in different roles. In 2015 he started the hit Magical Medora Christmas show that tours during the holiday season and this summer, he is opening a brand new attraction, “Perception: a Magical Slant House” for kids and families in Medora. Bill’s partner in this attraction is “High Diving Fool”, Don Otto. The two met many years ago when Don was a featured variety act in Medora and they have had the idea for this addition since.

“We both love illusions and tricking the brain and that is exactly what this experience will be. Showing people that their perception is the difference between the truth and what their mind is believing will make this attraction in Medora so much different than anything that already exists there,” says Bill.

Beyond his work in Medora, Bill has held some unique jobs such as his time spent managing boxing champion, Virgil Hill and working with folks like Don King. He founded the Bismarck Wizards Basketball team; and was the Mayor of Bismarck for 12 years.

Bill is excited for his final season as a co-host of the Medora Musical and looks forward to the ways he will continue impacting Medora in the future.

The full cast, band, and featured variety acts of the Medora Musical will be released next week.

Women of Medora: Candice Lively

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

Candice Lively Wollen, an Inspiring Woman

Candice Lively Wollan may be a Tennessee girl at heart, but North Dakotans have warmly claimed her as one of their own since she began performing as a Burning Hills Singer in the Medora Musical in 2009. (In fact, when the Musical rolled out a newly penned song about North Dakota in 2011, Candice was chosen to sing the ballad night after night—if every single North Dakotan who heard her sing “Always North Dakota” didn’t get a little choked up and want to invite her home for a hotdish dinner, then I don’t know what’s wrong with them…)

READ MORE »

Shooting of Riley Luffsey

Shooting of Riley Luffsey

This is an expert from local Medora author, Rolff Sletten’s book, Medora: Boom, Bust, and Resurrection. It goes into detail on the shooting of Cowboy, Riley Luffsey. READ MORE »

Big news from Medora, North Dakota…Teddy Rides Again!

Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation announces Joe Wiegand to return as Theodore Roosevelt for 2019 through 2021 seasons.

READ MORE »

Women of Medora: Kathy Solga

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

Kathy Solga, an Inspiring Woman

If you stop out at Medora’s Bully Pulpit Golf Course on a September afternoon, you’ll notice a few things.

First, the summer tourist season doesn’t appear to be over in the least, with a full parking lot, bustling pro shop, and shiny, scoria-colored golf carts zipping around almost every breathtaking hole. (While the famed Medora Musical wraps up the second weekend of September, Bully Pulpit keeps hosting golfers until late October, or until the snow flies—whichever comes first.)

Second, if you’re looking for golf shop manager Kathy Solga, you may have to get in line, as it seems just about everyone on the course knows her and wants to give her a warm hello. But don’t worry—not only will she be happy to take time to visit, she’ll make you feel like you are the only person in the room.

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Women of Medora: Joslyn Reichert

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

Joslyn Reichert, an Inspiring Woman

Life sometimes has a funny way of putting the right opportunity in front of you at just the right time.

Dickinson native Joslyn Reichert had built a career in the food and beverage industry, attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, holding various chef positions on the west coast, and then transitioning to food and beverage management roles at mountain resorts in Wyoming and Montana.

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First Ever Bully Spirit Award

First Ever Bully Spirit Award
A new, elite award given to those who encompass Bully Spirit

(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is excited to announce that we awarded our first ever recipient of the distinguished Bully Spirit Award to Rolf Sletten. READ MORE »

Hard to Explain

Hard to Explain

The Medora Musical is a third of the way through the season, the 4th of July came and went, and we have lost a great friend of Medora, Cowboy Lyle Glass. This town, the shows and employees keep improving, growing, and entertaining others. Some would say it is a miracle to keep this town running however, we know that it is hard work!

Randy Hatzenbuhler explained it perfectly in the article he wrote for our newsletter… READ MORE »

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