The magic of Christmas, Medora come together for special area performances
Jared Mason, decked out his Christmas best, performs a classic Christmas tune. Mason is one of the talented Medora entertainers in A Magical Medora Christmas. Contributed photo
The magic of Medora is coming to a city near you. And just in time for the holidays.
The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) has announced its schedule for A Magical Medora Christmas, and it includes a handful of performances in the area.
“Last year was our 50th anniversary of doing our shows in Medora, and I came up with the idea of bringing a show like this out to the people as a way to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for all the wonderful years,” said Bill Sorensen, who has been with Medora for 40 years. The intent was to offer a Christmas show across North Dakota for just 2015. But then something happened.
“The show went berzerko!” said Sorensen. “So we decided to expand the show and add more cities on our tour this year.”
Nearby area shows include:
Wahpeton, N.D., NDSCS Harry & Ella Stern Cultural Center, Bremer Bank Theater, Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. Tickets available online at medora.com and Econofoods in Wahpeton
Henning, Minn., Henning High School Gym, Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. Tickets available online at medora.com and at the Landmark Center
Detroit Lakes, Minn., Detroit Lakes Middle School Auditorium, Sunday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at medora.com and at the Historic Holmes Theatre
Alexandria, Minn., Alexandria High School Performing Arts Center, Monday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m., Tickets available online at medora.com and at Elden’s Food Fair
Joining Sorensen on stage in this family-friendly show will be the musical talents of Emily Walter, Jared Mason and Job Christenson, along with the musical accompaniment of Roger Rettig.
“The show has some extremely talented people in it,” said Sorensen. “Extremely talented.”
Jared Mason has performed as a Burning Hills Singer and featured vocalist in the Medora Musical. Since his time in Medora, Jared has become an award-winning recording artist, composer and actor, and recently starred on Broadway as Jerry Lee Lewis in the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet. He spent the summer of 2016 in Medora, starring in his own brand-new show, Jared Mason: Live!
“Just to tell you how talented Jared Mason is, he has tried out for two shows on Broadway and got the lead in both of them,” said Sorensen.
“Believe it or not, Jared is also one of the world’s best yodelers. He travels around the world and yodels at different events. So we will probably let him do some yodeling as well.”
Emily Walter has performed in the Medora Musical as a Burning Hills Singer and as a host. This summer, Emily hosted the popular new show in Medora, the Medora Gospel Brunch. While serving her country in the ‘90s, Walter was the lead vocalist in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command Band. She starred in Patsy Cline shows across the United States and Canada and as a featured vocalist with the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra.
“Emily has traveled and performed all over the world,” said Sorensen. “She is an amazing talent.”
Actor, singer, and dancer Job Christenson, a native of Grand Forks, N.D., has co-hosted the Medora Musical and starred on Broadway.
Sorensen said Christenson has quite a life story to tell. When he was just 34, he suffered a stroke that affected his body and his speech. After rehabilitation, Christenson’s voice is now back to 100 percent, according to Sorensen, and this tour will be his first public performance in three years.
“Job is one of the finest singers North Dakota has ever produced; he has an incredible, soaring tenor voice,” said Curt Wollan, long-time producer of the Medora Musical. Christenson most recently directed Cabaret, for Sleepy Hollow Theatre in Bismarck, N.D.
Roger Rettig is from London, England. He turned pro in 1950 and toured with many UK stars in the 1960s. He went on to do session work playing with such names as Tom Jones, George Harrison, Elton John and many more.
“He played with The Beatles before they were The Beatles,” said Sorensen.
The entertainers in A Magical Medora Christmas include (clockwise from upper left corner): Job Christenson, Emily Walter, Jared Mason, Roger Rettig and Bill Sorensen.
He moved to the USA in 1997 and continues to tour constantly. He credits his time in the Medora Musical amongst his favorite gigs.
“This a Christmas show, so most of the songs in it will be Christmas songs, but Roger is a rock-and-roll guy, so we may sneak one rock song in there for him,” said Sorensen.
Sorensen produced and appeared in The 4M Review variety show in Medora for 30 years. As a magician, juggler and public speaker, Sorensen has performed over 5,000 shows nationwide.
Sorensen served as the co-host of the Medora Musical for three years. Due to a last-minute diagnosis of throat cancer he was unable to host in 2016. This summer while he received radiation treatments during the week, he was still able to return to Medora on the weekends to give the inspirational message in the new Medora Gospel Brunch. “Believe it or not, it was the best summer of my life! I hope to return to hosting the Medora Musical In 2017.”
“I’m the magician,” Sorensen said, “but what’s really magical is bringing Emily, Job, Roger and Jared’s holiday entertainment — and a taste of Medora — to folks across the state. I can’t wait.”
If the response to the shows in anything like it was last year, the tickets will go quickly.
“Bill, Emily and Jared created something very special in 2015,” said Randy Hatzenbuhler, TRMF president. “Though it was created to cap the 50th anniversary and celebrate our all-time record year at the Medora Musical, it was quickly obvious that it needed to be an annual show. We are excited to help bring this heart-warming production to even more venues across North Dakota and Minnesota this Christmas season.”
Sorensen is looking forward to the performances and getting a chance to meet some of the people in attendance.
“We hope that people can come out to our shows and so we can say thank you and Merry Christmas,” said Sorensen, “And hopefully this will be a good opportunity for those who have not been out to Medora to get a taste of what we are all about.”
For more information about the show, or to order tickets, go to www.medora.com.
This year’s Magical Medora Christmas is being sponsored by Forum Communications and the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.