ASU Gammage hides books around town to promote Broadway show

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," based on a best-selling novel, will be in Tempe starting Tuesday

Residents in Tempe and Phoenix may stumble upon a surprise present as they go out and about during their summer days.

ASU Gammage is promoting one of their latest shows in a unique way — by hiding the books on which the play is based around town.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a Tony Award-winning Broadway play directed by Marianne Elliott and written by Simon Stephens, visits Tempe starting Tuesday.

The highly buzzed about play tells the story of Christopher Boone, a brilliant teen who sets out on a challenging journey to find the killer of a neighbor’s dog after Boone is accused of the act.

The show is based on a best-selling novel by Mark Haddon.

Erica Lin, digital marketing specialist at ASU Gammage, said while they try to engage followers on social media, this is the first time they have done a promotion like this for an upcoming show.

The 20 books are hidden around Tempe and Phoenix in various locations.

“We’ve hidden them in places around campus, in local coffee shops, parks, and some of the little free libraries in town,” Lin said.

They also shared clues on their Instagram story to help guide users.

“We really hope that members of the community here in the valley will be able to connect with the play through the book promotion,” Lin said.

The lucky finders can post their gems on social media with the hashtag #ASUGammageBookClub.

Antonio Hernandez, a senior theater major at ASU, found a copy of the book in the Secret Garden at the Tempe campus.

Hernandez, who is a floor manager at ASU Gammage and was not involved with the hiding of the books, saw a post on the ASU Gammage Instagram page then went hunting to find one.

Hernandez said he finished the book in one sitting.

“I passed it on to a friend of mine. I was a huge fan of it,” he said. “As a theater major, I’m excited to see how they put it onstage.”

Hernandez said he sees the potential that social media has to promote shows in the theater world. 

“(Social media) is a lot easier and cheaper,” he said. “Instead of putting out flyers and hoping people see them, there’s a constant way to share what’s going on on campus.”

#CuriousIncident, winner of five 2015 #TonyAwards is coming to #ASUGammage next week!

A post shared by ASU Gammage (@asugammage) on

Award-winning actor Gene Gillette plays Ed Boone in the show, Christopher’s father.

“I hope people will enjoy the play whether they read the book or not,” he said. “(But) I feel like reading the book will add to it.”

Gillette said he frequently referenced the novel when preparing for the role.

“The play is very true to the book,” he said. “There’s whole sections that are taken directly from the book and put on the stage.”

Gillette said he hopes audience members leave the show feeling hopeful and empathetic toward other people.

“We all have our different challenges in life. It’s about rising to those challenges,” he said. “One of the biggest themes is Christopher’s bravery. He goes out on this hero’s quest, a hero’s journey. He discovers a lot about himself.”

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will be at ASU Gammage June 20-25. Click here to learn more and buy tickets for the show. 


Reach the reporter at lallnatt@asu.edu or follow @LibbyAllnattASU on Twitter.

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