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. this Saturday, May 11, at 7200 2nd Street. Just 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 non-profit 501(c)3 Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center is a labor of love for executive director Jody Drake, and an off-shoot of the former Blue Rose Theater she founded in 1994 in Prescott at the Sharlot Hall Museum, where she worked for 18 years.
Drake and Lonesome Valley Playhouse founder and Center board member Clyde Neville 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. "I'm delighted to be in Prescott Valley, and excited for the community to know we're here."
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 her dad's association with the Barlow-Massicks "castle," as well as favorite historical character Sharlot 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. "Prescott Valley has such a thriving art scene. We really have worked to keep this facility affordable to this community."
She said for people who don't have money to rent, they 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.