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March 24, 2023

New Scotts Valley Theater Plans Inaugural Open House Saturday

Scotts Valley has been moving on up in the retail and restaurant arena. With the opening of the shops at The Hangar, and the brand-new Target replacing K-Mart, the shopping opportunities in town are growing exponentially. Dining has always been plentiful, but the one thing missing was a theater for performing arts. Come Saturday, that will all change.

The City of Scotts Valley Cultural Arts Center will celebrate its grand opening from 1-4pm, with the official ribbon cutting at 1:30pm. Located next to the newly refurbished Scotts Valley Library which reopened on Aug. 22, the 9,000-square-foot theater will be home to exclusive concerts, theatrical performances and community events.

The event will feature light refreshments and live music, courtesy of the Patio Geezers. 

Dave Hodgin, treasurer of the Scotts Valley Community Theater Guild and President of the Scotts Valley Senior Life Association in Scotts Valley, has been working on this project for nine years, and is thrilled to finally see it come to life.

In a recorded presentation on YouTube, Hodgin said that the stage is modular, so the configuration can be changed to suit any performance. The bright purple plush seats were a donation to the theater by the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and are mounted on platforms, allowing them to be configured into various seating arrangements to complement the stage. 

“Finally, after some 10 years of effort, the hundreds of volunteers and financial supporters of this new community asset are ready to show off what they have accomplished,” Hodgin said in an email to the Press Banner. “What you will see is what is being called ‘The Temporary.’ It is not the final vision but rather what donations and volunteer effort have been able to accomplish so far—a fully functioning performance space with a 2,000-square-foot stage, 264 plush seats and all the lighting and other tools of the trade that anyone could wish for. I think you will be amazed at what volunteers and generous donors have created.”

Hodgin says that the center will undergo further improvements as funds are available. 

“However, we are all going to be able to enjoy theatrical productions, recitals, educational lectures, musical presentations, even movies on the big screen—not sometime in the future but starting now,” he said.

The Scotts Valley Theater Guild has been developing the performance arts space since March 2020 when it signed an initial lease with the city. The Guild says it’s invested $150,000 in upgrades, but it was eagerly awaiting the $95,000 the city had promised to chip in. The city council had been holding out while the Guild figured out restroom facilities and other details, but the elected leaders finally agreed to transfer the money during a June meeting.

In addition, the Scotts Valley High School Performing Arts students helped to raise money for the new theater, and are hoping to use the space for their own performances.

Hodgin suggested that the venue could also be used for a hands-on theater tech class for students hoping to learn more about the performing arts field.

Comprised of Charles Abraham on keyboard, Hood Chatham on guitar, Kevin Hasenauer on drums, Gerry Doan on trumpet and special guest Rob Borders on bass, the Patio Geezers are excited to be one of the first groups to perform at the new venue. (Band member Jeff Werner usually plays double bass, but is out of rotation due to an injury.)

“We like to focus on great rhythms, harmonies and melodies, especially music that transcended other cultures and became part of our own,” said Hasenauer. “Mambo from Cuba, and Samba from Brazil bring beautiful melodies that define that era of the mid-20th century,” said Hasenauer.

The group is quick to point out that while their music may occasionally contain lyrics, there is no singer amongst them. Abraham credits the music from The Great American Songbook as their North Star.

“Most of those songs were originally show tunes from Broadway or early movies, and they were sung as vocals, but when the jazz musicians picked up on those melodies and started playing them in jazz combos, they became the bread and butter of their music,” said Abraham.

Donors, stakeholders and theater-goers will all be on hand at the grand opening of the theater, and the public is invited to come celebrate this momentous occasion. Join the fun on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 1-4pm at 251B Kings Village Road in Scotts Valley. For information, visit svctheaterguild.org.

Christina Wise
Christina Wise covers politics, education, art & culture, and housing issues. She has a degree in Communication from San Diego State University, and has lived in the San Lorenzo Valley since 1996. She's a community advocate and a mother of two.

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