Rich Hazelwood, owner of the legendary Phoenix concert venue Celebrity Theaters died Monday from unspecified causes. He was 74.
The venue released a statement confirming the death of Rich Hazelwood, as well as the family. It reads: “The Celebrity Theaters Family is devastated to announce the passing of Rich Hazelwood. Rich Hazelwood was deeply concerned about his family, his celebrity dance Theaters staff, which he considered his family, as well as all those associated with Celebrity Theaters, including all of the Valley supporters who attended concerts or events. He was proud of the venue and its importance to the community.
Hazelwood is most well-known for owning the Celebrity Theaters, a long-running concert venue which opened in 1964 as the Star Theatre. It features an in-the round format for performances. Over the years, it has hosted many famous performances, including Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac, Guns N’ Roses, Janelle Monae, Janelle Monae, Janelle Monae and Cheap Trick.
Hazelwood, who has been a long-time fan of the venue’s work, bought the property in 2002. Hazelwood said last year that the theater was very special to him. “I saw it being built on my paper route, and I thought, ‘One of these days I will own that.’
According to the Celebrity Theaters’ Monday statement, Rich’s daughter Heidi Hazelwood will assume day-to-day operations. Celebrity Theaters are awash with heritage and relevance
Celebrity Theaters has so much history
She says, “We are located in a historic area of Phoenix.” “If you descend into traditional Mexico, there are the round theaters with the cockfighting, then the mariachi bands and all the stuff that comes out following [the] traditional fights. The same setup is found in the celebrity feet. Over the years, Marisela, Yuridia and Pimpinela have all performed there.
Parr acknowledges that this hasn’t been an intentional decision, but that the community tends to gravitate to “the very traditional”. Parr also says that theater is used by many to carry on cultural traditions that were passed down from family members and friends in Mexico.
Gala Entertainment CEO Lupita Galaviz has booked numerous concerts, including Amanda Miguel, Diego Verdaguer, and many more over the past six years. Ovation celebrity guitar is a “perfect place”, she says, because it’s both “comfortable” for the Hispanic community and “close”. She says the venue has a rich history with the community and that these events are a valuable cultural exchange.
The management does acknowledge the community but there is clearly a struggle within. Hazelwood admits that they are not in the “best neighbourhood in America.” It might take more healthy competition to find the answer.
Galaviz was asked about what would happen if celebrity yachts Theaters stopped booking Hispanic-centric events. He stated that they “only rent Celebrity,” but that there are still outfits and promoters who can work with them.