Sunday, August 13, 2006

Medora Musical

Friday night and we’re at the Medora Musical. We had tickets for the steak fondue first (fondue?), which was really just a cookout. The food was OK, drinks extra and not really worth the price. But the setting was incredible. We were up on a plateau looking out over a 360 degree view of the Badlands. A breeze was blowing and a band was playing country music.

The ampitheater sits in a valley below the parking lot and entrance. Outdoor escalators are built into the hill and you have to take two of them to get down to the mezzanine level. The set for the show is a main street Medora—train station, church, post office, saloon, hotel, and general store-all different colored buildings. There’s no curtain, no backdrop, just the stage, the buildings and the sky.

We were front row center, since I bought the tickets back in April when I planned this whole trip.This show is a big deal for North Dakotans, probably something like the Radio City Music Hall’s Holiday show is for New Yorkers. On the escalators, we overheard a few people say that they’d been there a few times and that it’s different every year. I think most of the people who visit Medora are either from North Dakota or Minnesota. At least it looks that way from the license plates and the pins stuck in the map in the office of the horseback riding concession.

The three hour show was mostly cheesy and nationalistic country music and dancing, but a few things amazed us. They have the Rough Riders, who ride horses on and off the stage at a gallop. They have trails from the canyon and part of the stage between the buildings and the dance stage is dirt. And then they had acrobats from South Africa who did unbelievable things with their bodies. By the time we left the temperatures had dropped down to the 70s and it felt cold. We all fell asleep immediately.

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