Burning Hills Amphitheater
301 5th St.
Medora North Dakota 58645United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Medora's biggest summertime attraction promises good clean fun -- but also packs bad jokes and an uneven plot in this two-hour show.
Marking its 46th year in 2011, the Medora Musical carries on a tradition of patriotic songs, country-western tunes, gospel music, Teddy Roosevelt history and Christian values in a show that is appropriate for both young kids and older adults. While the musical is clearly the main attraction in Medora -- it changes every year -- you could easily go to Medora and enjoy your visit without splurging on this show. With a reserved seating capacity of 2,856, the Burning Hills Amphitheater is a top-notch place to watch the entertainment, and regulars know to bundle up and bring blankets, even when the daytime temps soar into the 90s. The show, which starts at 8:30 p.m. nightly, is new every year, but when we visited it felt very long and was what we would consider somewhat schizophrenic. The first half was fine -- it features 10 Burning Hills singers/dancers who do countrified covers of popular songs, plus a ditty or two about loving North Dakota. An elderly cowboy emcee presides over it all and helps move the loose story line along. But the second act was awful. The show we attended in August 2010 started with a bad variety act -- clowns, magic, joke-telling that struck us as out of place and unnecessary. Then the show moved to a Teddy Roosevelt history lesson, which is fairly serious and dark. Then we see a lone cowboy on horseback making his way down the butte behind the stage. Then we're back to the happy-happy singing-dancing couples. Tickets are $30-$34 for adults; kids are admitted free on Wednesdays and Sundays, so there are lots of kids there on those evenings. We were there on Monday night, and it was pretty heavy on the senior citizen crowd who clearly delighted in this show. We would have been happy to head back to the parking lot via the new seven-story open-air escalator at halftime.