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Expressions at ASU Gammage will allow students and the local community to showcase talent

Professional dancers, Broadway and comedians have performed on the stage, and at the Gammage open mic event

A performer plays the guitar at a previous Expressions at ASU Gammage open mic event in Tempe, Arizona.

A performer plays the guitar at a previous Expressions at ASU Gammage open mic event in Tempe, Arizona.

Want to perform on the Gammage stage? Expressions at ASU Gammage is hosting its third annual open mic night event Thursday. 

Producer of the show Melissa Vuletich helped create the event when it was just in the VIP lounge at ASU Gammage. Vuletich said it was moved to the main stage because of the excitement it promised and the chance for students and community members to say they have performed at ASU Gammage. 

ASU Gammage has a history of having well-known dancers or comedians perform on the stage. Next year, Hamilton, the famous rap musical, will be showing. 

"We're giving the local community a chance to also be welcomed into our building," Vuletich said. 

All types of performances have been in the event, she said. Electric violin, acapella groups and a rap artist have performed before.  

Masters candidate in opera performance Aaron Jones will be performing original work at the event. This is his second time performing at Expressions at ASU Gammage. 

Jones said his advice to those who are not sure if they want to perform is to simply do it. 

"You just have to push yourself to go for it! It's like ripping off a Band-Aid," Jones said. 

The capacity of ASU Gammage may feel intimidating, but Vuletich and the technical crew made sure the stage would feel inviting despite its large capacity. Couches and drapes will be set up to keep the atmosphere comforting.

Poet Harold Branch will be the host for the night. He used to run an open mic back in the late '90s in which the proceeds were used as scholarships for the incoming African-American freshmen at ASU. 

With his job as host, Branch hopes to connect the students to a bigger venue. 

"I want to help bridge the gap, the relationship between Gammage to the students," Branch said. 

He has been making poetry for about 25 years, starting at 14 years old. He plans on performing his poetry at the event, which he describes as dark and lyrical. 

Branch said the event has given him the opportunity to reconnect with school. He anticipates a diverse group of people sharing their passion.

"People can expect powerful language, powerful ideas and concepts," Branch said. 

Expressions at ASU Gammage will be Thursday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at ASU Gammage. Free food will be provided. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the event as Expressions at Gammage. The event is now referred to as Expressions at ASU Gammage. 

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