Medora – Let’s do dinner and a show

Medora celebrates the show’s 50th anniversary in 2015

Dinner and a show has a different connotation in Medora, North Dakota. Instead of getting all dressed up for a fancy dinner followed by a Broadway-style production, visitors here can slop their bread into their beans and enjoy a steak cooked on a pitchfork followed by an outdoor musical highlighting the area’s history.

Medora is home to Pitchfork Fondue and the “Medora Musical.” Combined, they give visitors to this small western town a fun night out. Pitchfork Steak Fondue has been cookin’ up fun for several years.

Choice steaks are loaded on pitchforks and submerged in boiling oil for a few minutes to get them to medium heat. For people who prefer to eat different meat, chicken is available. We went with the steak, for the full experience.

Steaks “on the grill” at Pitchfork Fondue

People line up about an hour before serving time to take full advantage of the dinner. We arrived about 40 minutes before opening and there were hundreds of people in front of us. The time flies, however, because the scenery is so beautiful. The North Dakota Badlands almost ring the area, so there’s not a bad view.

I thought we had reservations

We met a couple in line whose grandchild and great-grandchildren live in Omaha. Their family moved to Omaha following promotions with the Hy-Vee grocery store chain. It’s truly a small world.

The dinner is buffet style, so you can have veggies, fruit, baked potato, coleslaw and baked beans with your dinner. You sit at long tables, so you’ll get to know your neighbors.

Dinner time on the prairie

Following dinner, we took a nice stroll to try to work off some of the massive calories we consumed at dinner. Again, the view of the Badlands here is amazing.

Our view

We eventually made our way to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre for the nightly show, “Medora Musical.” The show celebrates the history Medora and North Dakota.

This year was the 50th anniversary of the show. It was fun to take one of the final shows of a special season. The musical operates June-September annually.

The musical’s stage

“Medora Musical” has a beautiful stage. It’s accentuated by the natural beauty behind it, so it gives the appearance of being a real town.

The show has an amazing opening. The cast sings the national anthem as a cowboy sits atop a horse in front of a giant American flag.

Beautiful show opening

“Medora Musical” is more of a variety show than a true musical. Comedy sketches are mixed in between and song and dance numbers. The musical was created by Harold Schafer. The North Dakotan did a lot of things, among them was inventing the bubble bath powder, Mr. Bubble. Raise your hand if you remember taking a bath with Mr. Bubble.

The show was founded by the inventor of Mr. Bubble

The show honors Schafer with a radio program ad featuring Mr. Bubble. It’s a truly hilarious skit, with a guy singing lead, doing a goofy dance and two guys “messing” up the sound effects. Another guy makes a popping sound with his mouth as a group of females sing the jingle.

The hosts – Emily Walter and Bill Sorensen during a skit with Cowboy Lyle

The musical portion of the show mixes classic country with modern pop-country hits. The songs are performed by members of the Burning Hills Dancers, led by the Queen of the Show, Emily Walter. Walter has been with the production for several years and definitely commands attention with her outstanding performance.

The male sidekick and comedian is Bill Sorensen. He, too, has been with the show for a number of seasons. They feed off each other’s performance.

The singers and dancers are all young, seemingly still in college or freshly out. They take turns singing lead on songs. They were fun to listen to and watch.

Burning Hills Singers perform during segment of show highlighting the outfit changes through the decades

The “Coal Diggers” – the show’s band consisted of some very talented musicians. The leader of the band played keyboards and a banjo. They had guitar and bass players, as well as a fiddler.

Coal Diggers band

The cast sings an emotional version of “Dakota,” celebrating their love for the state.

Show performance

“Medora Musical” was fun and entertaining. The sold out audience of more than 2,000 people definitely got their money’s worth. People have attended the show several times.

We had a wonderful time catching a western version of dinner and a show. We’d love to return to Medora and catch another one.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to the North Dakota Tourism Division for coordinating our trip. Thank you to Pitchfork Fondue and Burning Hills Amphitheatre for the complimentary tickets. However, all opinions and views are ours.