Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and referred to by road crews generally as "the upside down wedding cake", it's one of those buildings that a career in the arts just isn't complete until you've played. I’ve been at this for a while now, and I still get cross-eyed looks from other road managers when I say that I've never played ASU Gammage. We're rolling in this week with AVENUE Q, and I can't wait. I'm finally playing Gammage!
I've had degrees of knowing I'd successfully landed a career in show business - my first settlement on the promoting side was a Tina Turner engagement in 1997, which was a nice moment, and I’ve had a few others over the years where I’ve met my heroes or held company meetings in front of the stages where rock and roll, classical and Broadway stars have brought audiences screaming to their feet. It’s always exciting to get to play these incredible spaces, and Gammage is high on my list of to-play venues and “I’ve arrived” moments.
It’s been three years since I’ve been to the Tempe area. I worked as a promoter rep for a good while and spent about six weeks a year in the area between Broadway engagements at the Orpheum in Phoenix and the Mesa Arts Center. There are fond memories of my time in the desert and the envious phone calls from those enduring harsh winters as I basked in 70 degree Januaries. As I would drive the length of Apache Boulevard and pass Gammage, or sit in the audience at Gammage for other shows, I knew there would be a day that I would eventually be able to play this legendary venue. And that day has finally arrived!
I can’t wait to return to the area. I made a lot of friends over my time there, and miss my favorite nightspots. There will be dinner at Trader Vic’s in Scottsdale and lunch at the Arizona Biltmore. There will be late nights at Alice Cooperstown in Phoenix, and I’m sure late nights in new Tempe Marketplace. But best of all, there will be the opportunity to stand on the stage and look out over those 3017 seats, knowing that my return to the area has me in the place I dreamed of playing.