Hancher introduces new Broadway subscription series and arts festival

Hancher announced a new Broadway subscription series for the season of 2023-2024, as well as a new multi-disciplinary arts festival titled “Infinite Dreams” set to occur in October 2023.


Ayrton Breckenridge

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

Stella Shipman, Arts Reporter

Hancher Auditorium announced that a new Broadway subscription series, an October arts festival, and a new season lineup for the venue’s 2023-24 programming.

Broadway subscription packages went on sale Monday to the general public. The packages include four hit Broadway shows, “Come From Away,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Hairspray,” and “Chicago” that will be presented at Hancher at a discounted price.

Hancher donors were offered early access to the subscription packages for tickets and performances during a presale period from April 17-28.

Aaron Greenwald, Hancher’s director of programming engagement, said the range of Broadway shows is representative of all the genres that audiences might be interested in.

“Come From Away” is a modern Broadway favorite, while “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a rare indulgence on the Broadway stage but just as memorable. “Hairspray” and “Chicago” have both become lovable classics.

The idea for this subscription series was developed in the summer 2022 to engage with the theater community through Broadway, especially since a survey of Hancher patrons recently revealed that audiences were interested in Broadway content, and Broadway subscriptions at other theaters across the country have proved successful.

Greenwald hopes audiences enjoy the series, and that it can become a Hancher tradition for families. If the 2023-24 series is successful, he anticipates maintaining a selection of four shows every year for the foreseeable future.

“I think the other thing to be really clear about is that we’re not going to stop presenting symphony orchestras or great dance companies or terrific jazz,” Greenwald said. “We’re not doing away with any of those things, but we are doing this in addition to those things.”

With the subscription series, Hancher is undertaking three times as many Broadway shows as usual. This sizable investment has required much careful planning and attention to detail.

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“We want to be responsible stewards of the resources that we have,” Greenwald said. “So, we have to look at the numbers closely because while I think there’s a potential to do terrific business, we want to make sure that we’re making as sensible an investment as we can.”

An idea that also developed in the summer 2022 in a different conversation is the “Infinite Dream” festival that will take place in October 2023.

“Infinite Dream” will be a multidisciplinary arts festival that recognizes local artists, authors, musicians, and filmmakers. By recognizing all of these artistic talents in Iowa City, the festival can function as a way to examine America through the lens of performance art, imagery, and literature.

Hancher Executive Director Andre Perry said he believes it will encourage more interaction between artistic disciplines.

“Sometimes we’re like siloed buildings, just thinking about our own programs,” Perry said. “We forget that we’re part of this larger ecosystem of arts thats happening on our campus and also beyond our campus.”