The creative team of ‘Paul Bunyan: the Man, the Myth, the Musical” from L to R: Artistic Director Gary Hirsch, Playwright Roger Nieboer, Composer Don Gorham and Choreographer Wendy DeGeest.


The Stage North Theatre Company, in Brainerd is presenting the world premiere of “Paul Bunyan: The Man, The Myth, The Musical” by Mora resident Roger Nieboer. It is being directed by former Mora High School teacher Gary Hirsch and choreographed by former community education pre-school teacher Wendy DeGeest. This production has a strong Mora connection.

This is the third Roger Nieboer penned production that the Stage North Theatre Company has staged in the last few years. “Baby Face,” about the 1933 Baby Face Nelson bank robbery was produced in 2018. “Dracula,” an original adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel was also staged that year.

‘Paul Bunyan: the Man, the Myth, the Musical’ will open at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, at the Historic Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. It describes the local history of Paul Bunyan including how Brainerd became known as the Paul Bunyan Capital of the World. 

It includes some of the classic Paul Bunyan tall tales such as the story of how Paul was raised by wolves, how his dog, Sport, was cut in half in a terrible logging accident and the story of how Paul saved his trusty ox, Babe, from being frozen in the ice during the Winter of the Blue Snow. 

Patrons attending the Paul Bunyan production will get to engage in audience participation events including booing and hissing the pompous King Bemidji, playing “To Tell The Truth” and voting for the “Real” Paul Bunyan and singing and clapping to the toe tapping Paul Bunyan theme song written by local composer Don Gorham.

Stage North Theatre Company is also sponsoring a Paul Bunyan look-a-like contest. Contestants will be photographed during intermissions of the six performances. The winner will win four free tickets to Stage North Theatre Company’s upcoming production of “A Christmas Story.”

‘Paul Bunyan, the Man, the Myth, the Musical’ will run at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, 9, 15 and 16 and at 2:00 p.m. on Oct. 10 and 17 in the Historic Franklin Arts Center, 1001 Kingwood St., Brainerd, MN. 

Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at  218-232-6810 or at the door. 

Patrons attending the performances will have the chance to have an intimate question and answer session with some members of the original, creative team including Roger Nieboer - playwright, Don Gorham - music composer, Wendy DeGeest - choreographer and Gary Hirsch- director, a half an hour before each performance begins.  

For additional fun, help us celebrate this incredible local hero, Paul Bunyan, by attending the Paul-a-Palooza event. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10, in the Franklin Arts Center parking lot right before the 2 p.m. matinee of the Paul Bunyan musical.  

Paul-a-Palooza will include axe throwing, a Paul Bunyan bean bag toss, a photo shoot with Paul and Babe and multiple food venues featuring Paul Bunyan food choices including flap jacks, caramel corn, chicken strips and cheese curds.

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