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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Woodward and Bernstein, Leslie Odom Jr., Patti LaBelle, Yo-Yo Ma and the American Ballet Theatre are among the heavy-hitters headed to Hancher for its 50th anniversary season.
Tickets are on sale now to donors at the $120 level and higher, and go on sale to the rest of the public Aug. 15.
“You’re going to love it,” Chuck Swanson told The Gazette in a June interview before he retired July 8 as the performing arts center’s executive director. He programmed the season before he left.
It launches Aug. 26-28 with eight outdoor high-diving shows. That’s just a fraction of what had been planned for the “Big Splash,” a centennial celebration for the University of Iowa’s world-renowned IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering program housed on the banks of the Iowa River. That event was postponed from August 2020 and rescheduled for August 2022, but was again canceled in January because of the ongoing pandemic.
Still, plenty of other events will be making a big splash for Hancher’s golden anniversary.
“This season is so special to me,” Swanson said in a statement announcing the lineup. “It includes longtime Hancher favorites, newly commissioned work, and young artists who are just starting to get attention. And it is a diverse season — one of the hallmarks of our work — in terms of the many kinds of performances on the schedule and in terms of the diversity of the artists.”
Among returning artists are Dan and Claudia Zanes, performing Feb. 18. Dan Zanes was one of the 2005 artists in "SPOT: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure." The program featured residencies and performances in Iowa City, Coralville, Marshalltown, Perry and Spencer. Zanes caught the public's attention as leader of the Del Fuegos, the popular '80s garage band out of Boston. He left the rock 'n' roll world in the 1990s to record and perform for children and families, with appearances on "Sesame Street," "Noggin" and "Playhouse Disney."
Zanes and his wife met with Swanson and a group of Hancher donors who traveled in June to Broadway. Dan Zanes told Swanson that the 2005 Iowa residency “transformed and changed” his life. Afterward, he began studying Spanish because being in Perry and Marshalltown showed him “the importance of knowing Spanish, and how well that would help him in the work that he was doing.”
Claudia Zanes had her own Iowa connection at the June meeting in New York City, sitting across from Steve West, owner of West Music in Eastern Iowa. A music therapist, she orders her materials from West Music.
Those are the kinds of connections Swanson said he embraced during his Hancher years to keep artists coming back to Iowa City.
As Hancher builds on the past while moving into the future as part of the UI’s new Office of Performing Arts and Engagement, Hancher Director Andre Perry, who also helms the new office, believes the anniversary and the changes complement one another.
“It’s an exciting moment for Hancher and for all of the performing arts at the University of Iowa,” Perry said in a statement. “We are building on decades of exceptional work and continuing to serve our campus, community, and state in robust, meaningful ways. Hancher’s 50th anniversary season celebrates where we have been and starts to point the way forward.”
The season has been dubbed “Hancher’s Golden Anniversary — We All Rise,” reflecting Wynton Marsalis’ composition “All Rise.” The work will be performed Oct. 22 by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa and a choir of local vocalists.
The Hancher season will kick off over the weekend of Aug. 26. That Friday evening, the brasshouse trio Too Many Zooz will perform on Hancher’s Hadley Stage. Throughout the weekend, Dana Kunze’s Watershow Productions will present eight free high dive performances outside of Hancher Auditorium.
The first weekend of performances comes at the end of the annual “Hancher is for Hawkeyes” week during which UI students can purchase $5 tickets to many Hancher events.
For more information, go to hancher.uiowa.edu.
26 to 28: Dana Kunze’s Watershow Productions, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday; 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; outdoors
26: Too Many Zooz, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
14: Levitt Lecture: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
24: Leslie Odom Jr., 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
29: Soweto Gospel Choir, world premiere of “HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming,” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
14: Aaron Diehl and Brandon Patrick George, “Songs of Black America,” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
22: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, “All Rise,” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
25: Brentano String Quartet and Dawn Upshaw, “Dido Reimagined,” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
11 and 12: UI Department of Dance, Dance Gala 2022, 8 p.m., Auditorium
14 to 16: “Annie,” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
19: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, by Chip Davis, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
1: Cantus, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
9: Patti LaBelle, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
21: STOMP, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
29: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
4: Pilobolus, “Big Five-Oh!” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
11: Kronos Quartet, “At War With Ourselves — 400 Years of You,” 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
18: Dan + Claudia Zanes, “Let Love Be Your Guide,” 2 p.m., Auditorium
2: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
8: Club Hancher: Alexa Tarantino Band, 6:30 and 9 p.m., Strauss Hall
23: Club Hancher: Isaiah J. Thompson Quartet, 6:30 and 9 p.m., Strauss Hall
25: Club Hancher: Vuyo Sotashe Group, 6:30 and 9 p.m., Strauss Hall
28: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
14: Conor Hanick, piano, with Keir GoGwilt, violin, and Jay Campbell, cello, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
21: Emerson String Quartet, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
28: David Gonzalez and David Carlton, “Finding North,” 10 a.m., Auditorium
6: American Ballet Theatre, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium
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