Phoenix venue has history of hosting performances by Grammy winners

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- As the Grammys are handed out in Los Angeles, there is a theater in the Valley that is known to have given many award-winning artists their start and is still known to host the best in music.

From OutKast, Wynona Judd, and Destiny’s Child to Willie Nelson, LL Cool J and Black Sabbath, they have all come through the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. The Celebrity Theatre has been a gem in the Valley for almost sixty years, where Grammy winners and music lovers have come together. “It was supposed to be a convention center and turned into a concert venue,” Heidi Hazelwood said. “We had some very iconic people, you know, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen they kind of all started here.”

Hazelwood’s father, Rich, took over the small but mighty concert venue more than two decades ago. “Stevie Wonder and Van Halen. One of my favorites was Duran Duran because that’s from my childhood. And I remember my dad was like, Heidi, they are in the green room. You gotta go meet them!” she said.

Originally, the theatre opened as the Phoenix Star. In 2019, the Celebrity Theatre was officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The people who come and join us are just so faithful,” Hazelwood said. “They know what it’s like to see a show here. They know that there’s no one that’s further than 75 feet from the stage. And they know that with the rotating stage, they get a front view of the band, no matter where they’re sitting.”

The big names that have graced the Celebrity stage are almost too long to list – including Wynston Marsalis and Santana – and rumors still swirl on if and how many times The Rat Pack played the venue back in the day.

Grammy winners know the Celebrity Theatre well. Recently, Five-time Grammy winner Robert Cray, known for the song “Shout,” was performing at a packed house. “It’s such an honor,” Hazelwood said. “I feel guilty half the time when I’m watching a show that not everyone is seeing what we’re seeing. Like, this is so unbelievable.”

When asked what is next for the famed Arizona venue, Hazelwood said, “we’ll be here forever.”

Yetta Gibson

Yetta Gibson

An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Yetta Gibson is an Atlanta native who has reported news and entertainment for nearly two decades. Most of her airtime has been spent right here in the Valley of the Sun.