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REVIEW: Whipping up magic at Hancher
The Gazette - Monday, April 8, 2019
IOWA CITY — American Ballet Theatre treated Hancher audiences to the most delectable pairing of artistry and excellence Saturday afternoon and evening with “Whipped Cream.” This sight and sound dreamscape, penned by Richard Strauss in the early 1920s, folded 29 locals dressed as cupcakes, petit fours and more, along with Orchestra Iowa’s magnificent musicians, into the mix with professional dancers of the highest caliber. It’s the venerable troupe helmed by Mikhail Baryshnikov in the 1980s and now home to principal dancer extraordinaire Misty Copeland. And no, Copeland wasn’t in this touring production, but ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary danced the lead role of Princess Praline fluidly and flawlessly during Saturday’s matinee, as did principal dancer Devon Teuscher, appearing as Princess Tea Flower. (Soloist Luciana Paris made her debut as Princess Praline in the evening performance.)
A sweet homecoming for artist alum who makes sculptures out of candy wrappers
The Daily Iowan - Friday, April 5, 2019
With splashes of white paint speckling her jeans and a floral bandana holding back her short brown hair, artist Luisa Caldwell looked like artwork herself as she posed for pictures with her two art installations hung in Hancher on Wednesday. The University of Iowa alum, art-history graduate, and New York resident returned to her alma mater to display two of her pieces, Curtain Call and Folly, in conjunction with the American Ballet Theater’s performances of Whipped Cream at Hancher on Saturday. Each sculpture is made entirely out of candy wrappers, thread, and satin ribbon — items that Hancher Executive Director Chuck Swanson said perfectly highlight the upcoming ballet’s theme of sugar and sweets.
'Whipped Cream' ballet making dreams come true at Hancher
The Gazette - Thursday, April 4, 2019
Children will see a magical world of colorful confections dancing across the Hancher stage Saturday (4/6) afternoon and evening. Adults, however, will see through those layers into a more sinister filling as the action leaps through a story re-imagined from “Schlagobers” (“Whipped Cream”), a full-length ballet Richard Strauss penned in the early 1920s. It’s the story of a young boy and his friends, who go to a confectioner’s shop after celebrating their first communion. The Boy becomes ill after eating more than his fill of his favorite sweet: whipped cream. After the children leave, the sweets spring to life in the shop, and the scene fades into the Boy’s whipped cream fantasy world. He awakens, however, in a sinister hospital room, tended by a doctor and his army of nurses. While they are away, Princess Praline arrives with her own procession to rescue the boy and whisk him off to her kingdom.
‘Whipped Cream’ swirls into Hancher with classical ballet made for adults and children
The Daily Iowan - Wednesday, April 3, 2019
After his first communion, a little boy is given sweets and pastries to celebrate the coming-of-age landmark. Following his indulgence of whipped cream, the boy becomes ill and descends into a dreamland-like state in which he believes the doctor and nurses treating him are villains. Presented by the American Ballet Theater, Whipped Cream will leap onto the Hancher stage on Saturday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Whipped Cream is conceived as a theatrical side to ballet, with acting and intricate dancing being balanced by the dancers. “It’s on pointe, classical ballet,” said Kevin McKenzie, the artistic director of American Ballet. “But there’s character built into the steps for a specific reason. It highlights why we have the word, ‘theater’ in our title.”
Kaia Kater brings passion, personal stories to Hancher
The Daily Iowan - Sunday, March 31, 2019
One bass, one guitar, three lovely voices, and a banjo: This is how to put on a lovely, intimate, Saturday night show. Only Canadian banjo player Kaia Kater could pull this off with such grace. Performing with bass player Andrew Ryan and guitarist Daniel Rougeau, Kater lit up Hancher’s Strauss Hall on March 30. She put on two performances, at 6:30 and 9 p.m., and though they were fairly short at a little over an hour each, each was memorable.
'Hancher does need a home'
Our Quad Cities - Monday, March 18, 2019
In the studio today, we are joined by Executive Director of Hancher Auditorium Chuck Swanson to tell us a little bit about the new building and events that they have coming up! Listen in as news about American Ballet Theatre is discussed!
Preview: Havana Cuba All-Stars coming to Hancher Thursday night
The Gazette - Monday, March 11, 2019
Despite needing a translator for a recent interview with the Spanish-speaking Havana Cuban All-Stars, nothing is lost in translation when it comes to the music. The energetic band will deliver an eclectic mix of Cuban sounds when it swings through Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City on March 14. “The diversity of music is what makes (our) music so great,” bandleader Michel Padron said via an interpreter. “I think Cuban music is unique because of the different rhythms used — Son, cha cha cha and others. We use four different rhythms in the first four songs of our show.”
Five questions with: Muireann Ahern, director of ‘They Called Her Vivaldi’
Little Village - Sunday, March 10, 2019
Sunday, March 10 will bring an exciting, one-day-only performance to Hancher Auditorium. Irish theater company Theatre Lovett will make their Iowa City stop, one of just seven on their North American tour, sharing their original production They Called Her Vivaldi, a playful narrative full of adventure and magic. The play follows quiet musical prodigy Cecilia Maria, who is robbed of her magical, musical hat. The introspective musician must venture away from her comfortable home and into a loud and bustling city to get it back. Promising intense musicality and masterful stagecraft, They Called Her Vivaldi will bring the audience at Hancher a thrilling, comedic adventure story that is sure to reach audiences of all ages.
‘They Called Her Vivaldi’ to arrive at Hancher this weekend
The Daily Iowan - Thursday, March 7, 2019
A mystical singing hat named “Capello,” a musical prodigy, and a noisy, strange city: It sounds like the makings of a wonder-filled children’s novel, the type that is hard to buy into as an adult. But Theater Lovett has made this mystical plot into a reality and invites tired college students to sit back, relax, and explore childhood wonder in the midst of midterms season. At 2 p.m. March 10, Theater Lovett will bring its highly acclaimed show They Called Her Vivaldi to Hancher.
Danu kicking up Irish traditions ahead of St. Patrick's Day
The Gazette - Thursday, February 28, 2019
St. Patrick’s Day is obviously noted in Ireland, but the patron saint of Eire is celebrated on another level in the United States. That’s why Irish acts such as the iconic Chieftains and the venerable Danu perform in America for much of March. “We know and appreciate how significant St. Patrick’s Day and the days around it are regarded in the states,” button accordionist Benny McCarthy said by phone from his home in Waterford, Ireland. “It’s a huge deal, and so bands like us can’t miss the trip to America because we want to be in on the party. “When we come to Iowa, we want to transport the people there to Ireland. We want to immerse you in our music but we won’t stop there. You’ll hear our talk, our accent, the way we joke around and our sense of fun when we perform. You’ll get everything Irish out of us. Danu, performing Saturday (3/2) at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, will deliver traditional Irish tunes drawn from the band’s seven-album canon.