Posts tagged Medora Musical

“Cowboy Lyle” Glass Has Passed Away

Medora says good bye to a Badlands icon

 

(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is sad to announce the passing of Cowboy Lyle Glass. He was 67.

 

Memorial details will be forthcoming as family and friends are notified of the passing of our adored Cowboy Lyle.

 

Lyle was born June 22, 1951. He left his hometown of Crookston, Minnesota in 1973 for the Badlands of North Dakota — and a small tourist town called Medora.

 

Lyle quickly established himself as a hardworking Horse Wrangler at the Medora Riding Stables and an indispensable part of the Medora Division of Gold Seal Company, and later, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation family.

 

Lyle’s years of service to Medora and TRMF are highlighted by over 2,000 ghost rides in the Medora Musical — a  featured scene he made famous by descending a steep butte on horseback, guided only by a spotlight.

 

After suffering a life-threatening aneurysm in 2010, Lyle dismounted from his Medora Trail Riding horse but his presence in Medora only grew.

 

For guests to town, Lyle was the iconic presence you saw and felt everywhere — whether he was helping the Boy Scouts raise the colors of our nation, trotting through town atop his horse, Chocolate, or greeting families as they stepped off the escalator at the Medora Musical.

 

Today, thousands of people, from all corners of the nation, will forever remember him through personal pictures of their kids, their family, with the one and only, the iconic, Cowboy Lyle Glass.

 

Lyle was also a renowned wildlife photographer and expert on the horses that roam Theodore Roosevelt National Park, previously received a Governor’s Award as the Top Frontline Tourism Employee in North Dakota, and even had a candy store named for him in downtown Medora.

 

Lyle will be missed. We’ll remember him for his warm spirit, gentle ways, 45 years of service to the visitors of the Badlands and his unyielding love for Medora.

 

High-resolution photos of Cowboy Lyle Glass can be found here.

Photos of his photographic work can be seen here.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bill Sorensen by Tricia Sorensen

Many of you may think you know everything there is to know about my dad, Bill Sorensen, as he has been doing shows in Medora for the last 42 years. Here are some facts about him that you may not know.

 

  1. He is a Songwriter

Bill has written the lyrics to numerous songs, his friend Joel Gilbertson writes the music and Bill adds the lyrics. He has also written some songs with Jared Mason. Those of you who went to the Medora Christmas Show will already know this fact as some of his songs were featured in last years show.

 

  1. He is the best Valentine’s Day box maker.

On Valentine’s Day our elementary school always had an even where each student would bring in a decorated box to hold all of the Valentines from the other students. The Sorensen girls always had the most elaborate boxes. My favorite was a magic illusion box he made. It was clear on the front so you could see the valentines drop down but they would disappear in the middle and then reappear at the bottom. I got a lot of valentines that year because everyone wanted to figure out how it worked. One of my sisters had computer that used black lights to light up a message on the screen and the valentines went through the floppy disk slot. Some others he made were a puppy dog crate with stuffed animal puppies inside, a robot, and full-sized guitar.

 

  1. He started his hair on fire during a magic show

When he was 20 years old he was juggling torches in one of his shows, when he accidentally started his hair on fire. He burned off some of the hair and his eyebrows. The best part was the audience thought it was part of the act, and he didn’t notice until he started smelling burnt hair.

 

  1. He has dyslexia

As a child my dad struggled with his reading and writing skills. My grandma saved some of his schoolwork where he would write a sentence perfectly and then the next sentence would be 100% backwards. You would never be able to tell now, unless you’ve heard his Reddy Toosevelt speech.

 

  1. His name is a tradition

Bill’s full name is William Hans Sorensen; his dad’s name is Hans William Sorensen; his grandpa’s name is William Hans Sorensen, and his Great Grandpa’s name is Hans William Sorensen. My sisters and I are all happy that he chose not to name one of us Hans.

 

Must-Have Selfies in Medora

If you’re new to selfies or have already worn out your third selfie-stick this week the ingredients to an awesome make-your-friends jealous selfie = YOU+ A Smile + Awe-Inspiring locations.

 

We rounded up the must-have selfie locations in Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park to give you a starting point. There are likely hundreds more!

 

Here’s a challenge for you –  get out and show us your favorite Medora selfie spot!

 

Hashtag #MedoraSelfie #Medora or tag @medora_nd on Instagram or @MedoraND on Twitter and you might just see yourself in this article!

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With the Wooden Cowboy at the Burning Hills Amphitheater 

Medora City Overlook in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

With Teddy Roosevelt in front of Old Town Theater

Up top the Balcony at Little Mo’s

(Tip, get to the Restaurant by 8:30pm to be seated on the Balcony. Balcony seating closes at 9pm)

At the Entrance to TRNP Sign

At the Chateau

At Painted Canyon Overlook

Atop a Badlands Hiking Trail

National Park Selfie

With a Horse of Course

With Teddy Roosevelt Himself!

With Sheriff Bear (find him at the Musical)

Amphitheater Terrace with iconic MEDORA sign

Pitchfork Steak Fondue with Beautiful Badlands behind

BONUS: With Stacy The Bison (ask around town to find her location!)

So, happy snapping! If you don’t how will anyone know that you actually experienced it?

 

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!

READ MORE »

Interview with 2018 Burning Hills Singer — Alyssa Scott

Fargo, ND native Alyssa Scott is thrilled to be returning to Medora for her second summer as a Burning Hills Singer. We dropped a few questions her way via email and she answered them from her Nashville, TN abode!

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Interview with 2018 Burning Hills Singer – Kevin Korczynski

Kevin Korczynski is one of the most popular Burning Hills Singers in the history of the Medora Musical.

And after a year-long break, he’s returning to a, “one-of-a-kind” stage!

See what Kevin has to say about his return to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre and be sure to read all the way to the end… there is an AMAZING story about the First Lady of Modern Medora, Sheila Schafer!

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Getting to know 2018 Burning Hills Singer – Christie Robinson

A Maine native, Christie Robinson most recently earned her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Florida in April 2017.

She also holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maine at Farmington and a Certificate of Performance from The Circle in the Square Musical Theatre Intensive in NYC.

We caught up with Christie over email to see what she’s most excited for this summer in Medora and why she decided to return to Medora for her second season!

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Getting to know 2018 Burning Hills Singer – Taylor Leet

2017 Burning Hills Singer Taylor Leet is back for her 2nd year as a Burning Hills Singer in the “Greatest Show in the West“!

Raised in her beautiful hometown of Bismarck, ND, Taylor followed her dreams to Chicago earning a BA in Vocal Performance/Contemporary Urban Popular from Columbia College Chicago.

At an early age, Taylor discovered her passion for music and performing. She has been fortunate to participate in musicals, special events, gospel ensembles, and worship teams.

Growing up, she attended the Medora Musical each summer and is thrilled to be a Burning Hills Singer!

 

We sat down with Taylor to get her take on being a North Dakotan in the Medora Musical and more!

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2018 Cast of the Medora Musical

(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

Ask President Roosevelt

“Ask President Roosevelt” is a feature of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Member Newsletter, the Rough Riders Review. For five summers, veteran TR repriser, historian, and actor Joe Wiegand has brought Theodore Roosevelt to life on the matinee stage at Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater. During the off-season, Joe travels the country as TR, representing the Medora Foundation. As part of every performance, in character as TR, Wiegand takes questions from the audience.

 

Q: How did you spend your winter, Colonel Roosevelt? Any big plans for the summer ahead?

A: Like so many of you, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays spent with family were the most special occasions. Of course, I toured the country, performing for audiences from Portland, Oregon to Saranac Lake, New  York. Like many a North Dakotan, the winter found me in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California, where thousands of Medora Musical fans follow the migratory fowl.

Traveling the country and telling people about Medora and the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota is a real honor and pleasure, READ MORE »

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