Hancher announces lineup for landmark 50th anniversary season

Hancher Auditorium’s 2022-2023 season will feature landmark performances from Leslie Odom Jr., Patti LaBelle, and more.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Hancher Auditorium is seen on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

Parker Jones, Arts Editor

50 years ago, Hancher Auditorium was founded to bring state-of-the-art performances to the University of Iowa and its surrounding communities. In a press release sent out the morning of July 11, the organization announced the lineup for its landmark 2022-23 season, which will mark the performing arts center’s 50th anniversary.

The title of the bi-centennial season is “Hancher’s Golden Anniversary—We All Rise,” named in conjunction with the season’s centerpiece performance: Wynton Marsalis’ 1997 composition

“All Rise,” which will be performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa, and a choir made up of local vocalists.

The 50th anniversary season is meant to reflect on the organization’s history as a “nationally recognized performing arts presenter,” the press release stated, while also planning for the future as the first full season with Hancher as a part of the UI’s new Office of Performing Arts and Engagement.

Andre Perry, Hancher’s new executive director and leader of the new administrative office, said in the release that they plan to continue serving the campus and community in robust, meaningful ways.

“It’s an exciting moment for Hancher and for all of the performing arts at the University of Iowa,” Perry said in the press release. “Hancher’s 50th anniversary season celebrates where we have been and starts to point the way forward.”

Although he retired in July, the upcoming season was largely programmed by Hancher’s previous longtime executive director, Chuck Swanson. The press release stated that the season will continue to reflect key aspects of Swanson’s ongoing work.

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“It includes longtime Hancher favorites, newly commissioned work, and young artists who are just starting to get attention,” Swanson said in the release. “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.”

The first performance in the lineup will come at the end of the annual “Hancher is for Hawkeyes” week on Aug. 26. It will include a show from the brasshouse trio Too Many Zooz, as well as eight free high dive performances by Dana Kunze’s Watershow Productions presented outside Hancher Auditorium.

Other notable performances of the landmark season include a lecture from legendary journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on Sept. 14, a performance by Leslie Odom Jr. on Sept. 24, and a concert from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 29, 2023. A final performance by the American Ballet Theatre will round out the lineup on May 6, 2023.