'Golden' initiative to help ASU Gammage improve theater experience

The Golden Gammage Initiative

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, ASU Gammage has announced the Golden Gammage Initiative – a $16.2 million capital campaign to sustain the landmark performing arts center for future generations.

The initiative includes a capital improvements fund to ensure that ASU Gammage meets the needs of today’s patrons, including plans for restroom expansion, accessibility improvements and a revamped sound system.

It also includes a programming endowment to support the mission of "Connecting Communities" to ensure ASU Gammage continues its programs in perpetuity.

Better sound

During the silent phase of the campaign, ASU Gammage raised $1.2 million for the sound project to be realized in summer 2015.

“The acoustics in ASU Gammage are remarkable for unamplified sound, as the theater was designed when performers did not use microphones,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of Gammage. “Today, however, amplified performances are the standard for all spectra of performing arts. Making sure every patron has an excellent sound experience at an event is of paramount importance, and our plan is to update current components and devices to achieve that.

“A complete overhaul of the sound system will occur this summer to help ASU Gammage improve audience experience and reclaim its crown as the 'queen of halls,’” Jennings-Roggensack added.

More restrooms

The Golden Gammage Initiative also calls for much-needed improvements that would add additional restroom facilities and increase the accessibility of the venue by adding elevators, allowing access to all levels.

According to Jennings-Roggensack, the project is expected to cost $9 million.

“ASU Gammage is making progress toward that goal with a $3 million lead gift from the The Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation, as well as Arizona State University announcing a dollar-for-dollar matching investment of up to $2.5 million for the public phase of the campaign,” she said.

“The Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation has a long history of supporting great charitable organizations for the people of Arizona, and their funding was a tremendous catalyst into moving us a step closer to preserving ASU Gammage for future generations," she added.

With completed funding, construction could begin as early as 2016.

Arizona State University will make a significant investment to ASU Gammage that continues to be a major access point into the university. In addition to the $2.5 million matching investment, ASU will provide funding to complete expenses on the sound project and replacement of the stage floor.

ASU is also committed to the multimillion dollar project of resurfacing ASU Gammage's unique rose-quartz-crete exterior to make the 50-year old building look as it did on its opening in 1964.

Expanded programs

The initiative will create a programming endowment to bring the world’s best artists to the ASU Gammage stage and enable those artists to reach out to the community, create new work, engage audiences and create economic impact.

"Through the mission of Connecting Communities, ASU Gammage doesn’t just present the world’s best, but we make sure that people of all ages around the Valley and state get to experience working with and learning from these amazing artists through workshops, master classes and residencies,” said Mary Way, co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Leadership Board. “This programming endowment will allow these programs to continue and reach even more people in the coming years.”

ASU Gammage is also pleased to announce that in celebration of their long-standing partnerships, Ticketmaster and Broadway Across America are also making major investments into ASU Gammage’s infrastructure to support the Golden Gammage Initiative.

The silent phase of the campaign was led by major gifts from the Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation, Broadway Across America, Susan and Bill Ahearn, Laurie and Chuck Goldstein, Clyde Parker, George Brazil Home Services, Pat Langlin-Brazil, Margaret T. Morris Foundation, the late Jerry Appell and Ticketmaster.

The 50th Anniversary Leadership Board includes co-chairs Leslie and Jeff Rich, co-chair Mary Way, William Ahearn, Jo Finks, Grady Gammage, Jr., Laurie and Chuck Goldstein, Albert Leffler, Michael Manning, Sarah Nolan, Bill Way and the late Jerry Appell.

To help ASU Gammage achieve its goal for the Golden Gammage Initiative, or for more information, call 480-965-5062 or visit asugammage.com.