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ASU Gammage executive director celebrates 20 years

June 20, 2012

In the past 20 years, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack has distinguished herself as one of the most influential leaders in the arts locally, nationally and internationally.

As the executive director for ASU Gammage – carrying artistic, fiscal and administrative responsibility for ASU Gammage, ASU Kerr Cultural Center with additional responsibility for non-athletic activities at Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena – Jennings-Roggensack has accomplished much in her 20-year tenure. 

Top touring Broadway market: Jennings-Roggensack has turned ASU Gammage into one of the top touring markets in the United States. Every touring show wants to play Tempe, and the shows that Gammage presents are well-attended.

Economic impact: The PROGRESSIVE® Broadway Across America – Arizona series generates significant dollars, beyond the box office. The series is a leading economic engine for Tempe as well as the rest of the Valley. Even during difficult economic times, the series brought in nearly a billion dollars in economic impact to the Valley in the past 20 years.

Connecting communities: Jennings-Roggensack established ASU Gammage's organizational mission as "Connecting Communities" which allows Gammage to go beyond its doors to change lives for the better and make a difference in our community through the shared experience of the arts. Through this initiative, Gammage has discovered and created new avenues of communication through the arts to bridge cultural, economic and geographic divides.

Programmatic visionary: She takes more risks than other presenters by bringing groundbreaking work such as "Angels in America," "Spring Awakening" and "American Idiot." She has challenged audiences by presenting the best for Broadway and never has shied away from controversy.

Commissioned work: In the last 20 years, Jennings-Roggensack has commissioned 22 works to premiere at ASU Gammage which is more than any other presenter in the Southwest. Commissioned artists include Philip Glass, Trisha Brown, Bill T. Jones and the first North American commission of Pina Bausch.

Gammage residency: The Gammage Residency represents a three-year commitment to an extraordinary performing artist that includes performance, creative time and resources, intensive training for ASU students and local artists and engagement with many of the local communities. Past residency artists include Daniel Bernard Roumain, Anne Bogart and Bill T. Jones.

BEYOND Series: For almost two decades, ASU Gammage has brought the unique and eclectic BEYOND series to the Valley. World-class performers, cutting-edge new work and a wide-angle view of the arts world are hallmarks of this compelling series.

Appointed to President Clinton’s National Council on the Arts: Nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on the Arts. She was sworn in at the 121st Council meeting in August 1994 and served until November 1997.

Tony voter: Since 1995, Jennings-Roggensack has been Arizona’s only Tony Awards voter which is one of the most distinguished achievements in the industry. Tony voters are comprised of members of the board of the American Theatre Wing, entertainment industry performers and craft unions and theater professionals.

Co-Director and host for the 2004 Presidential Debate: Under Jennings-Roggnsack’s direction, national and international media gathered at the theater which allowed ASU to shine on an international stage.

Super Bowl XXX: Served as Vice-Chair for Special Events for the Super Bowl XXX Host Committee and she coordinated the first-ever Super Bowl Concert Series in January 1996 featuring Diana Ross.

2007 Fan Taylor Award recipient: This honor awarded by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters is given for lifetime achievement and exemplary service to an individual whose creative thinking and leadership has had a significant impact on the profession.

2009 Touring Broadway Award recipient: The Broadway League honored Roggensack’s with the Outstanding Achievement in Presenter Management; (Samuel J. L’Hommedieu Award) for demonstrating excellence in management.

Co-project Director of motioneIn 2005, motione made its world premiere at ASU Gammage as the first dance and multimedia project to use real-time motion-capture and analysis technology in a live performance. In 2006, it made its European premiere at the Monaco Dance Forum in front of her Serene Highness, Caroline Marguerite, the Princess of Monaco. It was selected because it is the only dance and motion-capture project in the world with this level of project partners

Journey Home: Since 2002, ASU Gammage is the only theater in the country to sustain this program designed to enable incarcerated women to discover a personal sense of constructive identity through performance, visual arts, creative writing and storytelling. According to Estrella Jail the recidivism rate has significantly decreased in the women who have participated in the program.

Military programs: ASU Gammage is proud to offer military families access to world-class theater opportunities at ASU Gammage through the Military Ticket Fund and Military Family First Nights. ASU Gammage honors the sacrifice of families of deployed and active military by providing tickets for them to attend performances, meet cast and crew members and experience unforgettable nights of family entertainment.

Self-Sustaining: Although part of Arizona State University, ASU Gammage has been operating under a self-sustaining business model since 2002. Its business model is unique among university based performing arts centers, and more often being replicated for its success. This self-sustaining business model, driven by private support and ticket sales, runs like a business but with the heart of a nonprofit.

National and local boards: Nationally, Colleen served three years as President of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and on the board for Western States Arts Federation. She currently serves on the Eceutive Committee on The Broadway league of Governors and is a Board member of Creative Capital.  She also serves on The Broadway League Labor Committee, Road Presenters/Intra-Industry Committee, Road/Labor Subcommittee, co-chaired the 2009 Spring Road Conference and co-chaired the 2010 Biennial Conference.  Locally, she has served on the boards for Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau (Chairman 2005/06, 2004/05, 1996/97) and currently on the board Childsplay and the Mill Avenue District.