Hancher announces 2019-20 season featuring Diana Ross, Audra McDonald, ‘Rent’ and more

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Hancher 2019-20 general public season tickets on sale

Monday, July 1

The phenomenal Diana Ross opens Hancher’s season on July 19. — courtesy of Hancher

Hancher announced today the lineup for its 2019-20 season, and it’s a thrilling one. The voices of some amazing women anchor the offerings, including singers, ensembles, poets, comedians and plays by and about women. The season also includes the inaugural events of Hancher’s new Kids Club series for young audiences.

The season begins earlier than usual this year with a concert by legendary performer Diana Ross on July 19. Ross is touring in celebration of her 75th birthday, which was on March 26. The singer has a storied career, both solo and with her long-time group the Supremes, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The incomparable Audra McDonald. — Allison Michael Orenstein

On Sept. 14, another notable vocalist, renowned in the theater community, will take the stage. Audra McDonald has six Tony Awards — more performance wins than any other actor — and in 2016 was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama. She also has a career in television, both episodic and movies, and has in common with Ross having portrayed fellow legend Billie Holiday — McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill for HBO and Ross in the 1972 classic Lady Sings the Blues.

September also sees the Urban Bush Women on the 21st, a dance company out of New York with a social justice focus. October brings the 20th anniversary tour of Rent (Oct. 4-5) and the Tomeka Reid Quartet will perform on Nov. 2.

Spoken word artist Amal Kassir performs at Hancher in February. — courtesy of Hancher

Highlights during the winter include performances of the Tony-winning revival of The Color Purple (Jan. 24-25) and the kick-off of Kids Club Hancher with Latin folk singer Gina Chavez (Feb. 1). On Feb. 8, the formidable Rosanne Cash (eldest daughter of Johnny Cash) performs, following a residency in Iowa City.

Later in February, Hancher returns to (and extends) its Embracing Complexity series of work spotlighting Muslim artists. Poets Syed Umar Warsi, Amir Safi and Amal Kassir perform on Feb. 21. On Feb. 22, comedian Negin Farsad (How to Make White People Laugh) takes the stage.

On March 25, the Melissa Aldana Quartet performs. Aldana, a Chilean saxophonist, became the first female instrumentalist to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2013. The month also sees visits from the Chieftains (March 4) and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 10).

Sarah Bockel as Carole King. — Joan Marcus

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical starts off spring on April 3-4, telling the story of the life of the wildly talented and successful songwriter in jukebox style. Although the season formally closes on May 4 with the Danish String Quartet, Hancher is also looking forward to August 2020 and their collaboration with the City of Iowa City and the University of Iowa’s IIHR — Hydrology & Engineering for the Big Splash!, a free three-day festival celebrating the Iowa River and the 100th anniversary of IIHR. The festival is the capstone of the UI’s Flow Together theme semester.

View the complete lineup on the Hancher website. Ticket sales open to the general public on July 1, but donors who have given at least $100 over the last year will soon receive season brochures that will also enable them to order early.

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