(HOST: Cowboy Chet) Originally from St. Anthony, MN, Chet is returning for his 10th season in the "Greatest Show in the West!" He has been coming to these beautiful badlands his whole life, and has considered Medora, ND his second home. After 9 years of being a Burning Hills Singer, he could not be more excited about making his debut as the Host of the 2016 Medora Musical. Since his first show on the Medora stage back in 2004, Chet has been seen performing all over the country. One of his favorites was Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, where he starred in several shows such as Dreamland Drive in, Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Babes in Toyland. National tours include Miracle on 34th Street, Ring of Fire, and his most recent endeavor, Live from Nashville. Chet would like to thank his family for all their support, and of course his new wife Candice, for being by his side. Enjoy the show!
Candice Lively Wollan
(BHS) Originally from Strawberry Plains, TN, Candice is excited to be back for her 6th season as a Burning Hills Singer. Over the length of her career, she has had the opportunity to perform for crowds all over the country. Most recently, Candice was a featured singer with the national tour of Live From Nashville. Previously, she has been seen singing and dancing in several theaters in Pigeon Forge, TN. Some of her favorite shows included The Smoky Mountain Opry, The Black Bear Jamboree, and Dollywood. Candice also had the opportunity to travel abroad as a singer on Norwegian Cruise Lines, and has toured the US with such shows as Miracle on 34th Street and Ring of Fire. Candice would like to thank her family for their love and support, and she is excited to be sharing the stage with her awesome husband, Cowboy Chet!!!
(BHS) excitedly returns for her 4th Medora Musical season! She is a proud North Dakota girl from Grand Forks! Misti earned her undergrad degree in music education from Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN) and her master's degree in theater arts from the University of North Dakota. Her North Dakota performance credits hail from Frost Fire Summer Theatre (Walhalla, ND); Fort Totten Little Theater (Devils Lake, ND); and all out of Greater Grand Forks: Fire Hall Community Theatre, Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA), Summer Arts Stages/Safari, and Empire Theatre Company. She has spent her post-college years both as a music teacher and performer. Her theatre has taken her to New York City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pigeon Forge, TN, and aboard the Norwegian Epic! Favorite credits include, Percy in Spitfire Grill, Maria in Sound of Music, Eponine in Les Mis, Babe in Pajama Game, and Disciple/Soul Sister in the national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. Her favorite line is... "There is ALWAYS a way." "Thank you Mom and Dad, for your constant love and support. Medora Musical 2016 is for you, my Lancaster and EGF students, and for Sheila. Hold onto your hats and kick up your boots, cuz here we go! YeeHaw!"
(BHS) Back for his third year, Damon from Dickinson, ND is ecstatic to return to the Medora stage and the beautiful Badlands that he has grown to love since his childhood. In December he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dickinson State University with a Bachelor of Music along with minors in Theater and Leadership Studies as a part of the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program. He has been seen performing in many of the University's productions as well as the Brownville Village Theater in Nebraska where his favorite role was Schroeder in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Damon would like to thank StageWest Entertainment for another fantastic summer along with his family, friends, and the overwhelming support of his hometown and state.
(BHS) is thrilled to be spending her 2nd summer as a Burning Hills Singer! She is a Kansas native and recently graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in musical theatre. Janet has been lucky enough to perform in regional theaters around the country since graduation. Some of her favorite roles include Judy Haynes in White Christmas, Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, and Rumpleteazer in Cats. “Love and thanks to Curt, the entire production staff, talented cast, and most of all my incredibly supportive family.”
(BHS) is thrilled to be here for her second year with the Medora Musical! She's originally from Des Moines, Iowa and is now based out of NYC where she received a degree in Musical Theater Performance from Wagner College. Past favorite roles include Maggie in A Chorus Line at The Armory Theater in Wisconsin, Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde at Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania, Rhetta Cupp in Pump Boys and Dinettes at Alhambra Theater in Florida and Iowa Touring Theater Company, and Trenna in Ring of Fire at The Temple Theater in North Carolina. Special thanks to Ryan, Babba, and her family for all their love and support.
(BHS) is thrilled to be back for her 4th season in Medora! Originally from Spencer, IA, Kim has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University Mankato and now lives in Minneapolis, MN. Kim has performed in national tours and regional theatres around the country. Recent roles include Cosette in Les Miserables, Beverly in the hit Church Basement Ladies series and Andrea in Recent Experiences. She's excited for another great summer in the Wild West alongside her husband Chad!
(BHS) Carolyn Schmitz is elated to be back in the Badlands performing on the majestic Burning Hills Amphitheatre stage. In her third year with the Medora Musical, Carolyn is looking forward to the centennial celebration of the National Park System. She has been performing and traveling around the Midwest for three years after graduating from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Most recently she has called Minneapolis home while acting at the historic Old Log Theatre as Holly in The Wedding Singer Musical, Linda Lou in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Sophia in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. You can also catch Carolyn singing in The Medora Gospel Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Get out your boots and go explore the National Park on your hike to the musical.
(BHS) has dusted off the ol' saddle, shined the dancin' boots, and is so happy being back in the badlands for his 5th Year in the “Greatest Show in the West!” Recently sharing his time between NYC, Aspen Colorado, and Jackson Wyoming, Ken has performed in Theatres all across the country. “Thank you Curt for this opportunity to again sleep out under the stars and dance up a storm under these beautiful Dakota skies.” Ken thanks his friends and family for continuously supporting all his life adventures in this awesome world we are able to explore.
(BHS) is grateful to return to this beautiful part of the world, and “The Greatest Show in the West!" An east coast native, Kevin has performed regionally and toured stages across the country. Many thanks to Curt, Lexie, and the entire StageWest team for another bully-licious opportunity & six incredible summers. Much love to Mom, Dad, and Medora friends old & new. Enjoy the show, the Badlands, and the blue skies of the shining West!
(BHS) is thrilled to be joining the Medora Musical this year! Originally from Canton, NC, Randall has been living in Pigeon Forge, TN for the past 9 years. There, he performed at Dollywood in shows like Country Crossroads and Christmas In The Smokies. You may have also seen him at the Hoot N' Holler Dinner Show or the Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show. Randall would like to thank his family for always being there to support him!
(BHS) Michael is excited to be a new member of the Burning Hills Singers this summer! Originally from Cleveland, TN, he has spent the past few years performing at Dollywood, in shows such as Country Crossroads, Dreamland Drive-In, and Christmas in the Smokies. Michael would like to thank his family for always supporting his dreams, no matter where they may take him!
(BHS) is excited for his first season with the Medora Musical. For the last 15 plus years Besler has been performing all over the country, including New York, California, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and many others. Some favorite roles include: Elliot Garfield in The Goodbye Girl, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Lt. Joseph Cable in South Pacific, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, Jerry Gorman in Flight of the Lawnchair Man, and various roles in Greater Tuna. Besler would like to thank Curt Wollan for this opportunity, as well as all his friends and family for their continued love and support. And a special thank you to his sister, Tanya, who helped spark his love for theatre at a young age, and continues to always be there for him. Enjoy the show!
(Drums) This is Marc's tenth summer; a decade of the Medora Musical! He can be found playing on cruise ships, touring the country with musical theater productions and the Twin Cities music scene when he is not in Medora.
(Guitar) Born in raised in Springfield, MO, Tyler has been living in Nashville, TN for the past 8 years working as a guitarist. Since last performing in Medora back in 2011, he has toured the country, and has had the privilege of being with opening acts for Rascal Flatts, Sheryl Crow, Alan Jackson, and others. Tyler follows the St. Louis Cardinals, loves homemade apple pies *wink wink*, and is fluent in sarcasm.
(Pedal Steel) Originally from London, Roger turned pro in 1959 and spent the next few years playing guitar with many big names of the UK music scene (Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, Eden Kane, Billy Fury) and touring alongside the Beatles, The Hollies and the Rolling Stones. He graduated to studio work in the ‘70s, then took up pedal steel guitar. He appeared on countless recordings, TV shows and commercials as well as playing numerous West End shows. He performed with Tom Jones, Duane Eddy, George Harrison and his boyhood idol, Lonnie Donegan! Roger emigrated to the USA in 1998 and continues to get his living doing the best job in the world. He now lives in Naples, Florida and is delighted to be returning to the Medora Musical for his 12th season!
(Associate Music Director/ Keyboards) Back in the Wild West for my baker’s dozen edition of theMedora Musical! What an adventure the musical always is, never knowing what each season will bring to the bandstand, the stage, and your life. Last year, Burning Hills Singer Kim Steffen and I got married. Hee Haw!!! She’s incredible. And now, this year, the five-string banjo makes its mark as another life moment that started one past summer in Medora when I picked up a banjo and loved it. And now I have just finished writing and producing this bluegrass banjo record titled Scarecrow, being released for the summer season. The new album features musicians you might remember from their time on the bandstand of past Medora Musicals, and Kim on vocals. The fiddlin’ and pickin’ good friends and great instrumentalist musicians, who all spent a summer or two as a Coal Digger, can be found on this recording playing together again...very cool. And what a great time we had recording it, both at Outpost North Studios in Minneapolis and on the road in Nashville. And now to experience another Wild West summer on the bandstand in the 2016 edition of the Medora Musical. Banjo up!
(Bass) Ed returns for a third summer to the Medora Musical as the Coal Diggers bassist. A New Jerseyan, with over 30 years experience, Ed has performed nationally and internationally with various artists and musical productions. He enjoys playing all styles of music including rock, country, funk, blues, and has travelled all over the world as a showband bassist aboard luxury cruise lines. Past musical theatre credits include Troupe America's 2013 national tour of Ring of Fire: The Life and Music of Johnny Cash and Christmas My Way: A Sinatra Holiday Bash. Ed is thrilled to be back in the Badlands!
(Fiddle) is a three time Ohio State Fiddle Champion. He comes to us from Frazeysburg, Ohio. At the age of 8, Josh began his career working for Nashville's legendary producer and songwriter Dan Mitchell, known best for If You're Gonna Play In Texas You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band. From 2005-2015 he performed at numerous theaters in Pigeon Forge, TN. He has his Master's in Music Theory from Berklee College of Music and is a consultant for Little General Records. In 2010 he was invited to be a part of Dollywood's 25th Year Anniversary Hallmark Special where he performed on national television with Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Miley Cyrus. This opportunity only added to the list of music legends he has performed with. Over the past year, Josh has been in Nashville spending most of his time in the studio playing on several records to be released later this year to country radio. Last year Josh received the honor of being endorsed by Mark Wood of Trans Siberian Orchestra and plays one of Mark's 6-string electric Viper violins on different shows.
Curt Wollan | Executive Producer/Director
Curt Wollan is the Executive Producer and Director of StageWest Entertainment and Troupe America Inc., a Minneapolis based theatrical production company operating The Plymouth Playhouse in the Twin Cities area, and providing traveling productions for the National Tour Circuit. Curt has directed many National Tours including Steel Magnolias, Driving Miss Daisy, The 1940’S Radio Hour, Hank Williams-Lost Highway starring Jason Petty, and Stephen King’s Ghost Stories. He has also co-produced three National Tours of Forbidden Broadway, directed M*A*S*H*’s Jamie Farr and William Christopher in the National Tour of The Odd Couple, and directed the National Tours of Moon Over Buffalo starring Gavin MacLeod, The Sunshine Boys starring Dick Van Patten and Frank Gorshin, and Same Time Next Year, starring Mackenzie Phillips and Adrian Zmed. Curt has been based at the Plymouth Playhouse in Minneapolis since 1979 and has directed most of its productions, notably How To Talk Minnesotan, The Musical, Church Basement Ladies, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Ring Of Fire, and Diamond Studs which won the Twin Cities “Kudos” Award for Best Direction, Choreography, and Best Musical. As a free-lance director, his work has been seen at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium with Cotton Patch Gospel starring Gary Sandy, at Dollywood in Tennessee with Dolly Parton, Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, and at Kansas City’s New Theatre Restaurant. Curt makes his home in Minneapolis and Fort Myers, Florida with his beautiful wife Jane, who he met right here in Medora when he was a Burning Hills Singer many years ago.
Sandy Tipping | Musical Director/ Musical Arranger
Sandy Tipping (Music Director) was born and raised in a small town north of Toronto, Ontario (in Canada!). He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating summa cum laude (B.Mus), and moved to Nashville where he has frittered away the last 16 years as a busy recording engineer, music director, elementary music teacher, hired-gun keyboard player, producer, arranger, and bagel enthusiast.
In Nashville, he has been the music director for the popular night show on the General Jackson Showboat and is currently MD for touring jazz artist Jaimee Paul. He has also produced award-winning records for Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, Daniel Lee Martin and Jaimee Paul, toured with acts such as the Platters, the Temptations and Martha Reeves, engineered albums for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bobby Osborne and Andrea Stolpe, and orchestrated or arranged custom music for numerous churches, show bands, theme parks and publications, as well as shows for a variety of national and international acts.
With his business partner, he operates Advantage Music Production, a Dove award-winning one-stop shop for custom music production, recording, and arranging. (www.advantagemusicproduction.com)
See also: http://www.advantagemusicproduction.com/about-us/sandy-tipping/
Lexie Wollan-Swenson | Asst. Director/Choreographer
Lexie Wollan-Swenson (Choreographer) has loved Medora and the Medora Musical since she was born. She has been “Sheriff Bear”, a BHS for ten years, the Assistant Choreographer for three years and the Choreographer for two seasons. As a performer she has been seen on National Tours and Dinner Theatres across the country. She now resides in the Twin Cities with her daughters and her husband, Jeremiah, who she met in Medora.
Greta Grosch | Writer
A member of the Musical team since 2005, Greta is also an actress, director and producer whose work has been seen on stages around the country. She works regularly as a voice over and commercial artist, travels the country as a motivational speaker and corporate entertainer, and has written the last 5 installments of the highly successful Church Basement Ladies’ musicals. For more information visit gretagrosch.com
Erica Zaffarano | Set Designer
Erica Zaffarano (Set & Props Designer) feels fortunate to be involved in this, her 6th year with the Medora Musical. Originally from Iowa, she has designed east of the Mississippi in Indiana, Maine, Vermont, the US Virgin Islands and west of Washington, California, Utah, Nevada, Iowa and her newest home, Minnesota. Coincidentally, while working in Los Angeles many years ago, she worked as a scenic artist for Rene´ Lagler, designer of The Burning Hills Amphitheater. She feels lucky and grateful to be surrounded by the community of so many inspirational, unique, eccentric, delightful people in her work and loves coming “home to Medora!”
Alan Hanson | Lighting Designer
Alan Hanson is excited to be back for his 6th season as the Lighting Designer for The Medora Musical! Alan holds an MFA in Theatrical Lighting Design from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He has designed productions throughout the country and including the National Tours of Lost in Yonkers and Leading Ladies for Montana Repertory Theatre and Miracle on 34th Street for Troupe America. He has toured nationally with the Montana Repertory Theatre (Miracle Worker, Steel Magnolias, The Trip to Bountiful, Lost in Yonkers, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, To Kill a Mockingbird), Chamber Theatre of Boston (Classics!), Troupe America Inc. (Babes in Toyland, Church Basement Ladies), and the Moscow Ballet (The Great Russian Nutcracker) as well as town Montana state educational outreach tours. For more information please visit www.alanmhanson.com
Katrina Benedict | Costume Designer
Katrina Benedict is thrilled to have the opportunity to costume design this year’s Medora Musical. Katrina works as a free-lance Draper for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN and as a Costume Designer for various theatres in the Twin Cities area. Her design work includes: Kirby, at the History Theatre, Sherlock’s Last Case at the Minnesota centennial showboat, and various productions at the Normandale Community College. Her most recent designs include: Ring of Fire, and four of the Church Basement Ladies musicals –Church Basement Ladies: A Second Helping, Away in the Basement, A Mighty Fortress is our Basement, and The Last Potluck Supper.
Jason Lee Resler | Co-Costume Designer
Jason is very happy to return to the Medora Musical for his third season. Previously Jason has designed for theatre companies in Minnesota and around the country, including Idaho Shakespeare and Great Lakes Theatre Festivals, Phoenix Theatre, Commonweal Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Illusion Theatre, History Theatre, Hope Summer Repertory, Cortland Repertory, Citadel Theatre, and Minneapolis Musical Theatre. Jason has also worked in the costume shops of Barrington Stage Company, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice. During the year Jason is Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Indiana UniversitySouth Bend- www.claponcue.com
Rachel Lantrow | Production Stage Manager
Rachel Lantrow (Production Stage Manager) is incredibly grateful to be spending the summer in gorgeous Medora. Her credits in the Twin Cities include SHAPESHIFT Grey Skies Blue (Cowles Center), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Artistry), Flying Foot Forum (The Guthrie, Cowles Center), La Cage Aux Folles (Bloomington Civic Theatre), The Nutcracker, Swan Lake (Continental Ballet Company), andWilly Wonka (Stages Theatre Company at FAIR School). In Milwaukee;Rep Lab ’14, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The End of the Rainbow, Noises Off, Venus in Fur (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Grease, Seussical The Musical (Crane River Theater), and two seasons in Sonoma, California with Transcendence Theatre Company's Broadway Under the Stars Concert Series and their Artist Series. She's originally from Lakeville, MN and earned her B.F.A. in Theatre Technology/Design. “For my Audience of One and for Kaela.”
What if it rains?
Every attempt is made to present each performance. Rain early in the day or even early in the evening will not result in an automatic cancellation.
Generally we do not cancel a performance prior to the scheduled start of the show. In some cases the start of the performance may be delayed up to
60 minutes due to inclement weather.
Shows lasting more than 60 minutes are considered complete performances. Shows lasting less than 60 minutes are considered "rained out."
Ticket holders at "rained out" performances have one of two options:
For each paid ticket, receive two tickets for any other performance during the current Medora Musical season or the following Medora Musical season (subject to availability).
A full refund of the amount paid for each ticket. Credit card orders will be refunded directly to the credit card. Cash/check orders will be refunded in the form of a check within three weeks.
How can I find out if the show is cancelled?
We will make every attempt to present the show. Announcements regarding Medora Musical cancellations will be made at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. Information is also available at the Rough Riders Hotel, Badlands Motel, and Medora Campground.
How often is the Medora Musical rained out?
On average, the show is rained out only 3 to 5 times per season.
How can I get into the cast?
Auditions are held in January each year.
The Medora Musical is an outdoor, western musical variety show held in the 2,852 seat, state-of-the-art Burning Hills Amphitheatre. Twelve singer/dancers (The Burning Hills Singers), six musicians (The Coal Diggers), a host and several variety and comedy acts are hired each season.
Curt Wollan, the show's producer, says the show's development is a continuous process. "As the curtain closes on one season, work begins on preparing for the next. Our management team assembles at the end of each season to look ahead to the next," Wollan said. The production company, Stage West Entertainment, is based in Minneapolis, MN, and is a subsidiary of Troupe America, Inc.
Wollan also attends casting conventions across the country and typically will audition more than 2,500 performers to fill the 20 cast member roles. "We look for performers who are triple threats, meaning they're able to sing, dance, act. We're always on the look-out for that fresh talent who lights up the stage," says Wollan.
Persons auditioning should bring an 8X10 photo along with a typed performance resume that includes contact information. Performers must prepare two country songs, one up-tempo, and one ballad that show their vocal range. All music must be memorized, sheet music in the correct key, and easy to follow for the provided accompanist. Those wishing to audition may bring a karaoke CD to sing with if they desire. A boom box will be provided.
For the dance portion of the audition, performers should wear or bring clothes and shoes that are comfortable for dancing. The Medora Musical is a professional musical production, so persons auditioning are expected to dress professionally. Western attire is acceptable, since this follows the theme of the musical. "Country musicians who read music or charts may also audition," notes Wollan. "The auditions are a fun and exciting process. It's great to see so many talented performers each year."
Theatre technicians are encouraged to send resumes to Stage West Entertainment.
Those seeking more information about the auditions are asked not to call the audition venues. For more information about the Medora Musical auditions contact:
StageWest Entertainment, a subsidiary of Troupe America, Inc.
Curt Wollan, Executive Producer & Director
528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 206
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
All auditions except UPTA are first come, first served.