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The staggering numbers behind staging 'Les Miz' at Hancher
Press Citizen - Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Jack McLeod stood in front of a dark stage inside Hancher Auditorium. Dozens of people were testing lights, one standing on a fully-extended cherry picker on the set, a team setting up a row of costumes behind the stage, a group putting together a drum set with almost 50 different drums or instruments to strike. "This is a normal day, a laid back one where everything is going right," McLeod, the production stage manager for the visiting tour of "Les Misérables," said Tuesday, around eight hours before curtain on the first showing of the musical playing all this week in Iowa City.
Les Misérables visits Iowa City once again, ready to perform for a new generation
The Daily Iowan - Sunday, December 2, 2018
A little over 30 years ago, the Broadway production of Les Misérables made its debut, transforming the world of musical theatre for one day more. The massive production makes its way to Hancher for the sixth time, now in a sparkly new Hancher and with a new generation of Les Mis fanatics. Les Misérables premieres on December 4 and will perform through December 9. Because of its large set and cast size, the production performs for a minimum of eight times at a single venue. Chuck Swanson, executive director of Hancher, recalls a memory leading up to Les Mis first performance at Hancher. Swanson had to remove a load of bricks at a loading dock in order to move the giant barricades into the building.
Canadian Brass brings the holiday season to Hancher
The Daily Iowan - Saturday, December 1, 2018
The five brass players entered through a side entrance, unnoticed at first by the audience. They had already begun to play; heads searched frantically, entranced by the smooth sounds coming from their golden instruments. They walked casually through the audience, and slowly made their way to the stage. They swayed side to side to the rhythm of the music. Their instruments were a part of them, an inseparable extension of their body.
Coming to Hancher: Jean Valjean's fighting spirit strikes close to lead actor's heart
The Gazette - Thursday, November 29, 2018
Nick Cartell dreamed a dream of playing Jean Valjean, and now that dream has come true. The Phoenix native who played student rebel Marius about 10 years ago in his hometown, has jumped to the signature role in “Les Miserables.” The new national tour of the Tony-winning musical is coming to Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City for eight performances Tuesday (12/4) to Dec. 9.
Best Bets: Momix 'Opus Cactus'
The Gazette - Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Since 1981, Momix dancer-illusionists have been twisting, bending and shape-shifting in works defying physical boundaries and inventiveness. This Connecticut troupe founded by choreographer Moses Pendleton is returning to Hancher with “Opus Cactus,” grounded in the life and landscape of the American southwest. Created as a 20-minute piece in 2001, “Opus Cactus” has been transformed into a full-length work full of cactuses, slithering lizards and fire dancers. Clive Barnes of the New York Post said: “ ... Pendleton’s ingenuity, theatricality and cunning imagination are seen at full stretch in strange vignettes of the Sonoran desert.”
Storm Large brings message of love, music to Hancher
Daily Iowan - Friday, October 19, 2018
Violet lights softened whatever hard features Hancher’s smaller venue contained while I took inventory of the black stage: a guitar, bass guitar, grand piano, a set of drums, and three mics posed, waiting to be played. Walking up the stairs on stage left of Hancher came Storm Large and her band, which she referred to as “the boys.” Wearing an elegant black dress, she pulled out a baritone ukulele and began singing one of her original love songs.
Jazz composer turns Catlett sculptures into five-piece suite, coming to Hancher
The Gazette - Monday, October 8, 2018
Rufus Reid’s five-movement jazz suite, “Quiet Pride,” not only reflects the artistry of Elizabeth Catlett, but her life, as well. “As quiet as it’s been kept, I think she’s a national treasure,” Reid, 74, said by phone from his home in Teaneck, N.J., across the river from Manhattan. “She’s got more of a reputation now than she did when she was alive, but her works are all over the country.” Catlett, who died in 2012 at age 96, was a civil rights activist, printmaker, sculptor and educator in the United States and Mexico, who used her art to depict the African-American experience, often focusing on women.
Hancher commissions inspire, launch new work
Iowa Now - Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Commissioning works allows Hancher to contribute to the UI’s research mission, academics. On Feb. 25, 1986, Hancher Auditorium hosted the world premiere of its first commissioned work, the Joffrey Ballet’s The Heart of the Matter, which The New York Times said was “bound to be one of the season’s most important ballets.” Hancher Executive Director Chuck Swanson says that night marked the beginning of a new creative future for the performing arts venue, which has gone on to commission 108 works to date.
Common coming to Iowa City on October 6
KWWL - Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Common will make two appearances in Iowa City on Saturday, October 6th. Common is an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy winner, and will hold a book reading and signing for his 2011 memoir "One Day It’ll All Make Sense" at the Englert Theatre. That event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Later in the day on October 6th, Common will present a lecture titled "Greatness" within Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus. The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be free to University of Iowa students who present their student IDs at the Hancher Box Office beginning this Friday, September 21st. General public tickets will then be available beginning on Monday, September 24th. There will be a two-ticket limit for the lecture per person.
Steep Canyon Rangers out in the open: Bluegrass band returning to Hancher for free outdoor concert
The Gazette - Thursday, September 6, 2018
A capacity crowd heard the band perform with the “wild and crazy guy” for Hancher Auditorium’s gala reopening Sept. 24, 2016. Just shy of two years later, the ensemble — without Martin — is returning to play for a potentially larger crowd in a free concert Sept. 14 on the Hancher Green in Iowa City.