ASU Gammage celebrates 50th anniversary with open house event

ASU Gammage

In 1957, then ASU President Grady Gammage had a vision to create a distinct university auditorium on the campus of Arizona State University. In September, ASU Gammage will open its doors to the public to celebrate that vision at its 50th anniversary open house event.

Admission to the event will be free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 28, at ASU Gammage, where guests will have a chance to enjoy birthday cake served every hour along with other refreshments. Guided or self-guided tours of the building and backstage will also be offered.

The Sunset Lobby will be filled with children’s activities, including Lego, coloring, an Imagination Station and other hands-on crafts, and an hour-long video on the history of ASU Gammage will be screened.

More than 20 Tempe restaurants, including La Bocca, Handlebar, Chompie’s and Rita’s Italian Ice, will be onsite offering free samples. Additionally, community partners and arts groups will be offering promotional giveaways.

ASU Gammage celebrated its grand opening with great fanfare on Sept. 18, 1964. Its first Broadway performance – "Camelot" – was that same year. Construction of the $2.46 million building had taken 25 months.

The only public building in Arizona designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Gammage Auditorium stands 80 feet high and measures 300 by 250 feet. Two pedestrian bridges add to the feeling of vastness, extending 200 feet, like welcoming arms.