(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF), in conjunction with StageWest Entertainment, is excited to announce the cast of the 2018 Medora Musical and that the Show’s theme will be about “family.”
Over four million people have seen the Medora Musical since first opening in 1965 – many visitors from around the region make it a family tradition to see the show each year.
However, the family tradition extends further than the guests who flock to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre each summer.
Back for his third year as Host of the Medora Musical, Chet Wollan grew up on the Badlands stage – first watching his father, Curt Wollan, produce the show (1987-2018) before joining the production for the first time as a four-year old doing rope tricks with Montie Montana.
Chet has grown into his role as host and again leads a very talented, professional cast in this year’s Medora Musical.
Curt, for his part, remembers his early years in Medora fondly, saying, “Little did I know that answering an ad in 1977 would have led to meeting my wife, Jane, and to the honor of fathering two very talented Burning Hills Singers — Chet and his sister, Lexie Wollan-Swenson.
“I love this show. It is so fun coming back to it year after year to tell timeless tales about Teddy Roosevelt, the Badlands and family values in compelling new ways.”
Former Bismarck Mayor, Bill Sorensen, will join Chet Wollan as co-host after a successful, four-state tour of A Magical Medora Christmas.
This will be Bill’s second season back as a kind of grandfatherly figure, helping his co-host tell the story of the Badlands and Medora.
Between Chet and Bill, this year’s show is sure to include a great mix of fan-favorite moments and humor – some scripted and others, well, not so much.
Each year some of the top stage talent in North Dakota audition for the Medora Musical. The competition is stiff and those selected compete against talent recruited from across the nation.
This year, three North Dakotans made the cast and are returning: Misti Koop, of Grand Forks; Taylor Leet, of Bismarck; and Alyssa Scott of Fargo.
Koop and Leet pursued passion projects during the winter, while Scott and her boyfriend, Medora Musical lead guitarist, Adam Vogel, have been performing and recording in Nashville, TN.
Vocal powerhouse and veteran performer, Candice Lively-Wolllan, joins the cast and her husband, Chet, this year as well. Candice and Chet just finished performing in a National Tour of Ring of Fire together.
The comical and ever animated, Ken Quiricone, will return in his “comedic side-kick role” for his 7th year after performance stints in Atlanta, GA, and Pennsylvania.
Fans will be happy to know that six-year veteran of the Show, Kevin Korczynski, will be returning after working in Florida and Illinois.
Kevin had this to say about his return to the stage of the Medora Musical, “A large part of returning was simply missing Medora. It’s a one-of-a-kind professional contract and I missed the electricity on that epic stage.
“I also missed the people, onstage and off. Co-workers, friends for life, Medora family, and fans it’s all a huge part of every summer story. The joy on-stage and off makes for such a gratifying return.”
Other veteran professionals returning for 2018 include:
Jessica Bradish, whose professional credits include a National Tour in Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Christie Robinson — who’s one half of Medora’s newest Kids Show, Carl and Greta’s Cowboy Sing Along with returning Medora Musical band leader, Andrew Crowe.
And Dusin LaFleur, who has worked at the Crossroads Repertory and Grandstreet Theatres.
The three new Burning Hills Singers are Ben Massouras, John Woodruff and Benjamin Frankart.
While over one thousand performers auditioned for the show at locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee this year, for TRMF communications director, Justin Fisk, a cast full of returners is fitting with this year’s “Family” theme.
“Really, the theme can be traced directly to the people who come to the show – the Medora Musical has been a family tradition, for visitors and staff, since Harold and Sheila Schafer started the show in 1965. Today, you see families all summer long with two, three, even four generations coming together.
It seems like fate, too, for our production team to build the show around this theme, and then for the cast to come together in a way that almost feels like a big family reunion – albeit a really musically talented one!”
Fisk concluded, “It will be fun and exciting to see how such an epic story of TR and the Badlands can be told with the family theme, with such a talented cast who are themselves a lot like a family.”
Lead Roles of the Medora Musical
- Chet Wollan – Host – “Cowboy Chet”
Strawberry Plains, TN, by way of St. Anthony, MN — returning
- Bill Sorensen – Co-Host – “Wild West Prestidigitator”
Bismarck, ND — returning
- Candice Lively-Wollan – Burning Hills Singer/Co-Host
Strawberry Plains, TN — returning
- Ken Quiricone – Burning Hills Singer/Co-Host
Stratford, CT — returning
Burning Hills Singers
- Jessica Bradish Des Moines, IA — returning
- Benjamin Frankart Republic, OH
- Kevin Korczynski Bel Air, MD — returning
- Misti Koop Grand Forks, ND – returning
- Dustin LaFleur Lafayette, LA — returning
- Taylor Leet Bismarck, ND — returning
- Ben Massouras Phoenix, AZ
- Christie Robinson Bucksport, ME — returning
- Alyssa Scott Fargo, ND — returning
- Jon Woodruff White Bear Lake, MN
Coal Diggers Band
- Andrew Crowe, Fiddle Franklinton, NC — returning
- Brandon Fillette, Piano Weddington, NC — returning
- Junior Mercer, Steel Guitar Sevierville, TN
- Perry Orfanella, Bass Carmel, NY — returning
- Barry Smith, Drummer Orlando, FL
- Adam Vogel, Guitar Melrose, MN — returning