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Mandan native stages opportunity in Medora

Morgan Rebenitsch of Mandan, N.D., is the manager of the Old Town Hall Theater in Medora, N.D. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

MEDORA, N.D. — Morgan Rebenitsch is getting full use of her theater degree this summer working in North Dakota's tourist destination.

The recent college graduate from Mandan is managing the Old Town Hall Theater in downtown Medora, coordinating as many as four shows a day.

At night, Rebenitsch also is involved with the Medora Musical, working backstage as a technician and playing the popular character Sheriff Bear.

"I love it. I really do," Rebenitsch said. "It's a really great learning environment here."

Rebenitsch, who graduated this year from Minnesota State University Moorhead, is spending her first summer in Medora, working alongside other employees from around the United States and other countries.

Her main job is to manage the historic theater, which was recently renovated and features four acts this summer.

She works backstage for Todd Oliver and his talking dog Irving, setting up magic sets and helping with animals he uses in his act.

Rebenitsch also helps set up for the other shows, "A Teddy Roosevelt Salute to Medora" and new shows, "Carl & Greta's Cowboy Sing-Along" and "Wonderful WORK: The Harold Schafer Story."

"They're all very unique," Rebenitsch said. "They all have something that I enjoy."

Wednesdays and weekends feature four performances a day, keeping Rebenitsch and the other workers and volunteers hopping.

"Those are the fun days, too," she said.

After she was hired for the theater manager job, her boss asked how tall she was and suggested she try on the costume for Sheriff Bear from the Medora Musical.

"I tried it on, thought it was a little bit of fun, went out there and really enjoyed it," Rebenitsch said. "I kind of fell into it, I guess."

Now she enjoys playing the role and posing for photos with kids.

"It's really fun to see kids light up when they think that you're real," she said.

Rebenitsch also does backstage work for the musical, helping with the cavalry scene and with the featured acts.

She likes to stay busy but does get one day off each week. She enjoys spending her free time visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park or going to the riding stables.

Her season at Medora continues through Sept. 8, but she's already thinking about next year.

"I would love to do it again," Rebenitsch said.