IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium has announced its 2012-2013 schedule of events, which includes dance, music, theater, and family-friendly fare. Tickets for the entire season — including $10 tickets for youth and college students for all events — are now on sale via an order form available on the Hancher website.
The season brochure, bearing the slogan “Great Artists, Great Audiences, Hancher Performances,” and the website include a listing of events by date, full details about each event and more information about Hancher’s outreach programs and diverse partnerships.
Celebrating 40 years
The season marks the organization’s 40th anniversary, and four events have been designated to celebrate the occasion:
• On Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, Brian Stokes Mitchell, star of stage and screen, will appear in concert.
• Pilobolus Dance Theatre, a longtime Hancher favorite, will perform on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 13 and 14, 2012, in the intimate Space Place Theatre on the UI campus.
• On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins will present his first Iowa concert since appearing at Hancher in 1993.
• The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which was the first touring ensemble to appear on the Hancher stage when the original facility opened in 1972, will perform a free outdoor concert on the UI Pentacrest on Saturday, June 15, 2013.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performance is part of a larger collaborative project entitled Living With Floods that will take the band to seven Iowa communities — Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Muscatine, and Iowa City — for free outdoor events. Hancher has several UI partners for the project, including the College of Engineering, the Iowa Flood Center, the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and the College of Education.
Multimedia production and groundbreaking ceremony
The new season will not only reflect on Hancher’s history; it also will include an important step toward the organization’s future. On Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, Hancher will present the multimedia production It Gets Better, a show that has grown out of the wellspring of YouTube videos decrying the bullying of LGBT youth. The performance features six members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles who will be joined by a large number of local choristers.
Earlier that day, the singers will convene at 4:30 p.m. at the site of the new Hancher facility to perform as part of a groundbreaking ceremony that will highlight Hancher’s ongoing work connecting artists from around the world with the local community.
A tradition of commissions
In keeping with Hancher’s reputation as a major commissioner of new work, the organization will present four commissions during the season.
The first is the culmination of a project with Tony-winners Stew and Heidi Rodewald. The two songwriters visited Iowa City in the fall of 2011 to collect material for the Iowa City Omnibus, a collection of songs inspired by the community. Adverse weather forced the cancellation of the concert by Stew & The Negro Problem, so the band will now unveil the songs on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, at The Mill as part of the Club Hancher series.
Hancher is also a co-commissioner of UI alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang’s lovefail, which features stories by acclaimed author Lydia Davis and will be performed by vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012.
The Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, performance by innovative classical ensemble eighth blackbird also will feature a Hancher commissioned work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.
Building upon the successful collaboration that yielded the play Mayberry, Hancher is again partnering with Iowa City’s Working Group Theatre. The new collaboration, The Memory Project, will culminate in the presentation of a new Hancher-commissioned play titled The Broken Chord, Friday through Sunday, April 12 to 14, 2013.
Additionally, former Hancher Artistic Director Judy Hurtig and her husband, Richard, are part of a group of commissioners for a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, which will be performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. The performance is supported by the Richard and Judith Hurtig Chamber Music Endowment.
Club Hancher events
In addition to Stew & The Negro Problem, Club Hancher events include the Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, performances by the Haitian band Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès and the Thursday and Friday, Feb. 14 and 15, 2013, performances by saxophonist Miguel Zenón, winner of both the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and MacArthur Fellow “genius grant” in the same year.
In addition to Pilobolus, dance fans will be treated to India Jazz Suites, which features master Indian dancer Pandit Chitresh Das and tap dance superstar Jason Samuels Smith in a cross-cultural collaboration (Thursday, March 7, 2013), and to AXIS Dance Company, which is an innovative ensemble of dancers with and without disabilities (Thursday and Friday, April 25 and 26, 2013).
Theatre offerings include the season opening Word Becomes Flesh by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, which explores black fatherhood (Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20 and 21, 2012), new work by monologuist Mike Daisey, who has found himself at the center of a controversy surrounding the details of his acclaimed The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 21 to 23, 2013), and Kindur, an interactive family performance by Compagnia T.P.O. (Tuesday and Wednesday, April 9 and 10, 2013).
Additionally, in collaboration with the Iowa City Community School District, Hancher will present school matinees of The Man Who Planted Trees, performed by the Puppet State Theatre Company of Scotland (Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 5 to 7, 2012).
The performances of Kindur and The Man Who Planted Trees are supported by the Herbert A. and Janice A. Wilson Arts Education Fund.
A wide array of music will be on offer as well, including Mexican songstress Lila Downs (Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012), the chamber orchestra Sphinx Virtuosi (Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012), the return of jazz singer Dianne Reeves’s popular holiday performance, Christmas Time Is Here (Friday, Dec. 7, 2012), the stellar bluegrass stylings of Dailey & Vincent (Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013), theinnovative Shuffle. Play. Listen program from pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz (Thursday, March 28), and Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, which is part of both Spot — The Hancher Family Arts Adventure and the Summer of the Arts Friday Night Concert Series (Friday, May 17, 2013). Hancher will be taking Simien on a tour across the state in addition to his Iowa City performance.
Tickets for the 2012-2013 Hancher season may be ordered using the season order form. Through July 16, Hancher contributors at the $500 level and above will get priority seating. For more information or for assistance with the order form, call the Hancher Box Office at (319) 335-1160 or 1-(800) HANCHER. Ticket order forms may be mailed, faxed or delivered in person to the Hancher Box Office, located in the University Capitol Centre (formerly Old Capitol Town Center).