“A musical look back at the Wild West”
The Medora Musical is a regularly performed musical production near the town of Medora, North Dakota. It is presented in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre starting at 7:30 p.m. MDT nightly from June 7th-September 7th, 2013. The amphitheatre seats 2,853. The musical is a look back at the "Wild West" days of the region and includes references to Theodore Roosevelt (who spent time in western North Dakota). The musical is produced by Curt Wollan of StageWest Entertainment INC. The Burning Hills Amphitheatre was built in 1958 one mile west of Medora, for the production of "Ol’ Four Eyes". That production was also about Roosevelt. The musical was planned to help celebrate Roosevelt's 100th birthday. The amphitheatre was carved out of the side of the badlands in Burning Gulch by local volunteers, cast members and boys from the Home on the Range Ranch. The original theater seated between 1,000, and 1,200 people. It was constructed of wooden benches on the hillside with rustic buildings that formed a set around the stage. The natural acoustics of the hillside meant that no sound system would be needed. "Ol’ Four Eyes" ran until 1963 when it was cancelled by the producer. It was replaced by "Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again" for the 1963 and 1964 seasons. In 1965 the amphitheatre was bought by former North Dakota businessman Harold Schafer. He started the Medora Musical with the help of a Sheehan Productions associate, Fred Smith. The Medora Musical was originally called "Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again; A Medora Musical," but the name was too long. In 1986, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) was started by Schafer to help fund the community and the musical. In 1991, the amphitheatre received a $4.1 million facelift which added additional seating, a new stage, escalators, and a much needed wheelchair ramp. The new Burning Hills Amphitheatre was completed in 1992, and the new construction was completed in 1997. In 2005 another renovation was made to the sets and the stage.
My husband and I and our two children ages 11 and 12 went to the Medora Musical last night. My husband didn't want to go...he thought it was just a tourist trap but it was very entertaining...the performers were professional (not just a bunch of local hicks) It is an outdoor amphitheater...the atmosphere alone is worth it! A must do while in town!! Also, do the Steak Fondu Dinner beforehand...delicious!!!
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