Sparky’s Quill: ASU Gammage Presents “It’s History!”

Gammage today. Photo courtesy fabulousarizona.com

Gammage today. Photo courtesy fabulousarizona.com

Everybody knows Gammage. It is the big cake looking buiding on the southwestern side of campus. They have all kinds of performances there. These are not just little performances either, but touring companies from all over the United States that show off award winning Broadway shows. Did you know ASU Gammage is one of the largest university-based presenters of performing arts in THE WORLD?! That’s right ASU students, Gammage is badass. They’re getting ready for their next show: War Horse, which I’m very excited for. In the past they have shown musicals like Les Misérables, Wicked, Spring Awakening and Hair. The stage can also be set up to host operas, lectures, and even organ recitals. Gammage is not limited to musicals and dramas. It hosted the 2004 Presidential Debate, which shows how flexible and diverse Gammage can be.

Also fun fact: If you are a student you can use your superawesome ASU student powers to get rush tickets the day of a show.  This means you can see the show for half the price you would pay normally AND you get some pretty awesome seating.

So now that you remember what Gammage is, here is some history surrounding the building and the name.  Gammage was designed by none other than the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designs cool buildings that someone like Ted Moseby from “How I Met Your Mother” would fawn over.

The story of Gammage and Wright is an interesting one. In 1957, ASU President Dr. Grady Gammage decided to build an auditorium. When you need to build a new building, who else do you call but your best bro Frank Lloyd Wright? (I broship it).  Wright made some stellar blueprints that were originally supposed to be for a new building in Baghdad, Iraq. However, he found that the building would be better suited for ASU. Plans were made to build on top of an athletic field that was standing where Gammage is now. Unfortunately, both Grady Gammage and Wright died in the same year of 1959 (like true bros) and did not see their vision come to life.

An early design for ASU Gammage. Drawing courtesy architectgallery.com

An early design for ASU Gammage. Drawing courtesy architectgallery.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took a couple more years and a few million bucks to build the iconic ASU Gammage Auditorium that we know now. It opened on September 18, 1964, with a performance by the world renowned Philadelphia Orchestra  (from my own hometown). The auditorium is named after Dr. Grady Gammage who made many contributions to the state of Arizona and can be thanked for giving Arizona State University its current name. Thank you Dr. Grady Gammage for your help in making ASU a great university!

Sidenote: I’m a chaser on the ASU Quidditch team and we hold practices on the south field of ASU Gammage every Tuesday and Thursday night at 8pm, so now we’re a part of its history too. You should check us out and watch us play!

 

Have any questions regarding Gammage, Wright, or the history of ASU? Drop us a line at sparkysquill@gmail.com or @sparkysquill on Twitter.