The Pearl comes back

Hancher will hold an open house Friday afternoon to show the community the product of eight years of rebounding.

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By Gracey Murphy
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@graceyelyssa
Construction takes up streets, requires patience, and often causes more headaches than many people can handle. But once the product finished, it can quickly become clear just how worth it everything was — especially if the product of all that construction is Hancher Auditorium.
On Friday, the new version of the legendary performance hall will open its doors to the public after eight long years of discussion, planning, and construction. Beginning with a ribbon-cutting celebration at 3 p.m., the day’s events will also include a formal open house, welcoming the community inside Hancher’s new walls. For those that won’t be able to make the event on Friday — or for those who want to get another look at the space — there will also be a second open house on Sept. 11.
The space has played a tremendous part in Iowa City’s history from its opening in 1972 until the 2008 flood, with Hancher acting as the host to countless acts and performers from across the world. Its stage has been home to musicals, ballet, theater, opera, and nearly countless other acts.
In 2008, Hancher and the Arts Campus were ravaged by the catastrophic flood that crippled so much of Iowa City. Now, the new facility will open Friday with an upcoming season in store. The box office will open the same day; tickets to most of the season’s shows are available on Hancher’s website.
Some highlights from the 2016-17 season are Steve Martin and Martin Short, *Book of Mormon,* a brand-new *Nutcracker* from the Joffrey Ballet, and more.
Students can get discounted tickets to each show, and some of the artists may visit classrooms or do mini-shows at some of the surroundings venues during their stay in Iowa City. Hancher will also provide a variety of job opportunities for those who want an inside look at the theater world. Notably, its staff of ushers will consist primarily of University of Iowa students.
Part of Hancher’s success over the years has stemmed from its appeal among both the student population and other Iowa City residents. A good deal of this can be attributed to its famously diverse programming, which often — like this year’s — boasts shows that attract audiences from across the community.
Now, after eight years living in the vacuum created by the destruction of the old facility, Hancher is finally back and ready to entertain people once again.

Where: Hancher Auditorium
When: 3-7 p.m. Friday
Cost: Free

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