Interview with 2018 Burning Hills Singer — Misti Koop

As a Grand Forks, ND native, Misti Koop is grateful and overjoyed to be returning for her sixth season as a Burning Hills Singer! We caught up with this energetic, fan-favorite hometown girl to get her thoughts on what she’s been up to and the upcoming Medora Musical season!

What are some of the shows you’ve done before the Medora Musical?


Hello Medora! I’m grateful to say that theatre has been a huge part of my life since I was six years old. My first show was “The Music Man,” in East Grand Forks, MN. I was a little “River City chorus kid,” and after that, I was hooked! I’ve been fortunate to perform many genres of theatre; everything from Shakespeare like “As You Like It” and “Comedy of Errors,” to classic Musical Theatre like “The Sound of Music” (Maria), “Hello Dolly” (Dolly), “Annie, Get Your Gun” (Annie), and “Les Miserables” (Eponine)… From straight plays such as “You Can’t Take It With You” and “Rumors,” to professional musical revue shows such as “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” or original revues created for specific venues in Tennessee, such as “America’s Hit Parade” and the Smith Family Theater’s “Back to the 50’s” Show (I was even a back-up singer for Elvis that year!). 


I am certainly most proud of my national tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar!” I was cast as one of 6 girls to be disciples, lepers, vendors in the temple, Herod’s girls and Soul Sisters with Judas. I do some directing as well; both youth and adult musicals, primarily. I’ve also done some random performing contracts, such as two summers as a Berenstain Bear at Valley Fair, two seasons as an Elf at Santaland, Macy’s 34th Street, NYC, and 7 months aboard the Norwegian Epic as a musician/performer in a Cirque show! You never know where a performer’s career will take them? I know my Medora Musical cast mates will say the same thing!


What would you like the audience to know about what it’s like performing in the Medora Musical.


Medora Musical audience: please know that we are having just as much fun as you are! We work to make it as real and genuinely energized as we can, night after night! Looking out at a huge amphitheater of people is exhilarating! The Medora Musical stage brings a joy to me that I have yet to find, anywhere else.  It is truly magical. Also, the audience is just as important to our recipe of magic. You are crucial to our mission and your excitement and genuine laughter and applause are music to our ears. We are grateful to have you in the audience; new and returning! For your “fun knowledge…” yes, sometimes the show is more challenging on certain nights.


Sometimes we are super hot, or super cold, or not feeling well, or the weather is crazy and we are trying to performing like nothing different is happening; or our microphone goes out and we have to switch and try to communicate with the sound booth without drawing attention. The Medora Musical is a LIVE show, and that’s why many of us come back year after year. We love the candid, real-time relationship with each other, and with you, our audience. We like to call it… “organic.” 🙂


What’s a favorite “Medora” story of yours? 


My cast mates love the story of the hair brush! As many of you know, the Medora Musical likes the ‘look’ of hand held microphones. Well, once upon a 2012 Musical evening… Mark ended up with my microphone, unknown to him; and I… in my panic, went on stage with the blackest, most “microphone-looking item” I could find… my hair brush!! As I climbed to my position for the Gospel section, Alicia said to me off-mic, “Is that a hair brush?” I answered sheepishly, “Yes. I don’t have my mic!” “Well get off stage and get the spare!” she said. I ran off and under the stage as fast as I could, to the depot side where the spare mic was… and I made it back just in time, for the sentimental slow piece, at the end of the Gospel section! Of course I felt awful and irresponsible and stupid. I learned later that my mic had been mixed up with Mark’s and no one had a way to fix the issue in real time. Hence, it was an honest mistake that just happened to happen, one random, Medora Musical night… and we (especially me) will never forget it!


As a North Dakotan, what does it mean to perform in the Medora Musical?


My dear Medora Musical, it has been a privilege from day one, for me, to perform with you and for you! I’m not just saying this. I honestly feel a true sense of North Dakota pride, each time I enter, at the top of the show. I am so proud to be from this wonderful state! (I know others feel the same way about their home state too, and that is a beautiful thing!) I get chills every time we sing the National Anthem and “Always ND” and “Medora” and “Dakota.” I can’t help but smile with pride, when I’m introduced as being “from North Dakota.” I get goosebumps thinking that I may be inspiring other young performers in our region, simply because I’m from North Dakota too! If this sounds cheesy, than I’m truly sorry – but I truly mean it! All 50 states and our world of nations are grand places and bring several amazing performers and thousands of guests to Medora each summer. But… when in Medora… “Hooray for North Dakota!” 


1 Comment

  1. Holly Koop
    May 5, 2018    

    So proud of you Cowgirl Misti!! You make us so happy and full of love as we watch you perform on that magical stage with your cast mates!!! Your “story” is full of wonderful experiences but I know how much “Medora” means to you and has a very special place in your heart!!! I hope that 2018 will be an OUTSTANDING Medora summer for you and the wonderful cast of the MEDORA MUSICAL!!!! YEEHAW!!! Love you!! Momma

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