Celebrate pioneer women at Blazin' M

"A Woman's Hand" is being performed every Sunday through Nov. 9 at the Blazin' M Ranch.

"A Woman's Hand" is being performed every Sunday through Nov. 9 at the Blazin' M Ranch.

Back by popular demand and in celebration of the Blazin' M Ranch enjoying its 20th anniversary, the ranch is again offering up "A Woman's Hand," a special live theatrical production filled with music, laughter, tears, and a wealth of soul through the eyes of pioneer women in the Verde Valley. Written by Dev Ross, the show enjoyed a successful sold-out run earlier this year. Audiences will again get to experience this show now playing every Sunday through Nov. 9.

Along with the Blazin' M's signature chuck wagon dinner, pre-dinner activities and attractions, guests can engage with colorful Old West living-history characters that will showcase the hard work, challenges, triumphs and everyday hardships of women settling the Wild West in the 1800s.

The result of tireless research by Dev Ross and historian Kate Ruland-Thorne, the show features women who helped weave the fabric of Sedona and the Verde Valley. Their stories are heartwarming, often heartbreaking and rich with spirit. Audiences will enjoy hearing directly from these historical women who come alive on stage. Meet the first African-American woman to own a business in Jerome, a saloon called Soiled Dove; a Chinese singsong girl; Latina Apolonia Chavez; and, of course, Sedona Schnebly.

Along with Dev Ross, one of Sedona's favorites, Shondra Jepperson, a singer, songwriter, actor and half of the entertainment duo Tom & Shondra, is also a producer as well as an actor in the show. Jepperson commented, "It's been a thrill to see this show go up at the Blazin' M Ranch. Acting alongside my creative partner Dev Ross and such an extremely talented cast is a joyful experience. Our audiences have expressed their genuine appreciation for the chance to celebrate pioneer women."

Dev Ross commented, "My producing partner, Shondra Jepperson, and I had discussed putting the play up for years but had no venue for it until the Blazin' M Ranch. Having my show play there is a dream come true. Lori Mabery and her team at the ranch shared our vision, added to it, and are helping to bring more theater into our community. After our terrific run last March with sold-out shows, we know this run is bound to sell out quickly as well."

The other three cast members joining Ross and Jepperson are well known to area audiences and have also enjoyed success in theatre and film. Tricia Greer has been cast in leading roles in several theatrical productions in Sedona, such as "Shifting Gears," "Lion in Winter," "Glass Menagerie," "Proof" and "37 Postcards." She also has extensive theatre résumé of lead roles in theatres throughout California.

Movie fans are familiar with stage and film actress Michele Lamar Richards, known for her role as Whitney Houston's sister in the Kevin Costner film, The Bodyguard. Richards is currently working as a writer, producer, director and professional acting coach.

Accompanist James Ball is well known in the Verde Valley for leading the Mingus Union High School Choir, for teaching Music Theory and for directing the critically acclaimed MUHS Musical Theatre Department. He has also performed professionally across the nation.

John Reynolds is the director of the show who, besides his directing resume, has an extensive background as a special effects lighting director for major motion pictures including blockbusters such as "E.T.," "The Twilight Zone" and "Towering Inferno." Reynolds says, "The Blazin' M Ranch is the perfect venue. Directing "A Woman's Hand" there was rewarding and I am excited about the potential to do other programs in that inviting space. It's a perfect environment for a director. There is outstanding support from a well-ordered team in a warm environment. It feels like home."

For dinner and show reservations call (928) 634-0334 or book on-line at blazinm.com. Gates open at 5 p.m. for pre-show activities and actor/audience interactions. Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. The hour-long show starts at 7:30 p.m.. Adults: $35.95+tax, Seniors: $32.95+tax, Children (3-12). $19.95+tax.


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