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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features July 22, 2014

5/10/2013 10:02:00 PM
Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center adds to Prescott Valley's performing arts scene
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file
Jody Drake, shown portraying Sharlot Mabridth Hall at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home Feb. 1, 2011, is executive director of the new Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center at 7200 2nd St. behind ACE Hardware in Prescott Valley. The grand opening is today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file
Jody Drake, shown portraying Sharlot Mabridth Hall at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home Feb. 1, 2011, is executive director of the new Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center at 7200 2nd St. behind ACE Hardware in Prescott Valley. The grand opening is today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special to the Courier

Prescott Valley has a new performing arts hub in the Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center, and everyone is welcome to attend its grand opening, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at 7200 2nd Street. Look for the building resembling a medieval castle directly behind ACE Hardware.

It's a day of free music and celebration featuring Katie Lee, Gail Steiger, Toney Norris and Just for Mama. The entertainment includes the 93-year-old Lee reading from her new book, Ballad of Gutless Ditch. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center is a labor of love for executive director Jody Drake, and is an offshoot of the former Blue Rose Theater she founded in 1994 in Prescott at the Sharlot Hall Museum.

Drake and Lonesome Valley Playhouse founder Clyde Neville, a Blue Rose Heritage Center board member, put their heads together to bring Prescott Valley a place where people can enjoy theater, music and entertainment.

"Between the two of us, the project has become incredibly diverse," Drake said.

Born and raised in Prescott, with a mom from Mayer and dad from Chino Valley, Drake has been fascinated with area history since she can remember. Her interest in Prescott Valley stems from Sharlot Mabridth Hall's love of "Lonesome Valley" - one of Prescott Valley's monikers. Countless people have enjoyed Drake's portrayal of Hall through the years.

"I will play Sharlot Hall for the rest of my life," Drake said. "I send everyone to the museum, too. I have a great love for the museum."

Drake initiated chautauqua talks at the Blue Rose, and currently is working on plays about the Fain and Massicks families, and Prescott Valley's Lynx Creek, where one of Arizona's first gold strikes occurred.

Such plays can be performed when the 6,000-square-foot building's 144-seat theater is completed in October.

Open now are community meeting rooms, classroom space, a small dance studio, an actor's green room, and outside the 80x100-foot fenced yard, where open air markets, concerts and festivals can take place.

"Every space is for rent at only $25 per hour," Drake said. "We really have worked to keep this facility affordable to this community."

She said for people who don't have money to rent, the group will do a 50/50 split of the proceeds of whatever activity is presented.

"Nobody ever loses anything that way," she said.

Drake listed some of her own ambitious plans for the future, including cowboy summit music and poetry in July, a steam punk festival (Jules Verne-type technology in the Old West) and a haunted house in October, acting classes and living history programs.

"It will grow according to what the community wants," she said.

For more information, call Drake at 928-227-2737.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Article comment by: Bernie D

Congratulations Jody! Very happy for you and the others to keep this going on. :)

Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Article comment by: Our Rich County History...

This is wonderful. Thank you, Jody, for your persistence. You are a treasure and your love for this county's history and for Sharlot Mabridth Hall's vision is a blessing to all who seek a deeper historical connection to this place called 'home'.

Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Article comment by: just a gal in PV

Congratulations on your achievement.
And welcome to Prescott Valley.
I am looking forward to the events you will produce. I think this is a great idea for the area. I do hope people will give it a try. Your prior work at Sharlotte Hall was wonderful. I am looking forward to this adventure.

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