A Magical Medora Christmas is returning for its fifth year. Six popular and experienced performers from Medora’s Burning Hills Amphitheater are coming together to present the family-style holiday extravaganza. The show will be offered 30 times in 23 communities, covering four states, and several of the shows are just a short drive away.

Some of the performers in last year’s show get the audience revved up with a classic holiday song. Contributed photo

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support for the Magical Medora Christmas.” said Producer Bill Sorensen. “We can’t wait to bring good, old-fashioned entertainment back across the four-state area.”

It was Sorensen, recently retired as host of the Medora Musical, who, in 2014, created a Christmas show for Medora’s Cowboy Christmas, and in 2015, acted on a dream of taking a Medora-style show on the road during the holiday season.

Two new performers are joining the cast for this year’s show. They are Kim Willow, who spent five years as a Burning Hills Singer and performed nationally in the hit Church Basement Ladies, and Travis Smith of Columbus, Ohio, who has performed across the country including at the Medora Musical and Medora Gospel Brunch.

As in the past, Sorensen will host this year’s show, called Home for Christmas. Returning to perform with him are former Medora Musical hosts Emily Walter, Job Christenson and Chad Willow. Willow is a longtime bandleader at the Medora Musical.

Magical Medora Christmas regular, Emily Walter, performing during one of last year’s shows. Contributed photo

“The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is grateful to have folks like Bill Sorensen and his cast mates sharing joy during the Christmas season,” said Randy Hatzenbuhler, president of the TRMF. The show reflects everything we love about Medora and allows us to bring the spirit of Medora to communities across the region.”

Sorensen provides comedy and magic, and the others will highlight their musical talents. All have appeared as featured performers of the acclaimed Medora Musical, and they all have long resumes of entertainment experience.

Walter, known as “The Queen of the West,” was host of the Medora Musical from 2010 through 2015, and for four years has hosted the popular Medora Gospel Brunch. She is one of a select group approved by the Patsy Cline Estate to portray Patsy Cline. Walter was the lead vocalist in the US Air Force Strategic Air Command Band and served in the “Desert Band” during Desert Shield/Storm. She has worked with such stars as Bob Hope, Lee Greenwood and John Denver. She lives in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Actor, singer, dancer and playwright Job Christenson, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, has hosted the Medora Musical and starred on Broadway in Cats, Ragtime, JCS, Joseph, and Billy Elliot, among others. “Job is one of the finest singers North Dakota has ever produced,” said Curt Wollan, long-time producer of the Medora Musical. Christenson worked in productions in Chicago, and was artistic director of the North Dakota Ballet Company. He lives in New York but continues as artistic and development director for Sleepy Hollow Theatre in Bismarck.

Chad Willow, long-time bandleader for the Medora Musical will be part of A Magical Medora Christmas again this year. Contributed photo

Bill Sorensen served as co-host of the Medora Musical for seven years and has been the featured speaker in the Medora Gospel Brunch for four years. Sorensen produced and appeared in the 4M Review variety show in Medora for 30 years and plans to do four shows a week next summer. This is his fifth year producing and starring in the Magical Medora Christmas traveling show. As a magician, juggler and public speaker he has performed over 5,000 shows nationwide. He also served as mayor of Bismarck and a state representative.

Minnesotan Chad Willow joined the Magical Medora Christmas Tour in 2017 as pianist, singer, and banjo player.

“As associate musical director of the show and leader of the Coal Diggers band for 12 Medora Musical season, I have experienced incredible adventures from my time in this little town tucked away in the North Dakota Badlands,” he said. Chad produced and recorded a vocal bluegrass record entitled Scarecrow, with musicians from the Medora Musical bandstand stage.

This year, Chad’s wife, Kimberly, a Burning Hills singer from 2012-2016, joins the Magical Medora Christmas cast. Recently, Kim played the role of Beverly in the hit Church Basement Ladies series in both national tours and regional theatre around the country. When not onstage, you can find her music directing or band leading. Kim and Chad live in Minneapolis.

Above: Bill Sorensen, Kim Willow and Chad Willow pose for a photo. The three will be part of each show in this year’s tour. Contributed photo

Also new to this year’s show is Travis Smith, a composer and arranger who runs his own music production company. Travis writes children’s shows and created a full-scale musical Steeple People: A Southern Gospel Comedy.  He is a multi-instrumentalist and has musically directed over 100 professional theatre productions.

The tour stops in 16 communities in North Dakota, four in Minnesota, two in South Dakota and two in Montana. Tickets for all shows are $30 and are available now at www.medora.com. Tickets will also be available locally in some communities.

Sponsoring the tour are Forum Communications, TTT Ranch, Vic and Ethelyn Uttke and the TRMF. The full tour schedule, including ticket sales locations, can be found at www.medora.com. The nearest shows to Sr. Perspective readers are  printed in the box listed on this page.

“We hope that people can come out to our shows and we can say thank you and Merry Christmas,” said Sorensen, “and hopefully this will be be a good opportunity for those who have not been out to Medora to get a taste of what we are all about.”   

A Magical Medora Christmas
(Area Shows in 2019)

Alexandria, MN. • Dec. 8, 5 pm, Jefferson High School
Tickets: Elden’s Food Fair; Medora.com

Below: Bill Sorensen yukes it up with a magic Christmas box at a show last year. Contributed photo

Jamestown, ND • Dec. 9, 7:30 pm, UJ Reiland Theater
Reserved tickets: Medora.com

Fargo, N.D. • Dec. 13, 7:30 pm, Fargo North High School
Reserved tickets: Medora.com

Fargo, N.D. • Dec. 14, 3 pm, Fargo North High School
Reserved tickets: Medora.com

Fargo, N.D. • Dec. 14, 7:30 pm, Fargo North High School
Reserved tickets: Medora.com

Henning, Minn. • Dec. 15, 4 pm, Henning High School
Tickets: Landmark Center, local First National Banks or Medora.com

Wahpeton, N.D. • Dec. 18, 7:30 pm, NDSCS Stern Center
Reserved tickets: Medora.com

Park Rapids • Dec. 19, 7:30 pm, Park Rapids High School
Tickets: Park Rapids Chamber or Medora.com

Bloomington, Minn. • Dec. 20, 1 & 7:30 pm, Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center
Reserved tickets: Masonic Heritage Center or Medora.com

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