Hancher Auditorium announces 50th season lineup, featuring Wynton Marsalis, Leslie Odom Jr. and more

·4 min read

Yo-Yo Ma, Patti LaBelle and Leslie Odom Jr. are just a few of the performers that Iowa City audiences will see on the Hancher Auditorium stage for its 50th season.

The performing arts venue announced its season 50 lineup Monday morning, titled “Hancher’s Golden Anniversary — We All Rise.”

The name is after the award-winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis’ composition “All Rise,” which will be performed by the Jazz Lincoln Center Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa and a choir of area vocalists in October, according to a Hancher news release.

“The new season reflects on the organization’s past as a nationally recognized performing arts presenter and commissioner while also beginning to chart the future as Hancher becomes part of the university’s new Office of Performing Arts and Engagement,” the release stated.

Wynton Marsalis will perform Oct. 22 at the Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City.
Wynton Marsalis will perform Oct. 22 at the Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City.

Hancher Auditorium’s inaugural season was in 1972, bringing such renowned guests and productions in subsequent years as Duke Ellington in 1973, Elie Wiesel in 1998 and B.B. King in 2008.

Season 50 is largely programmed by the auditorium’s longtime former executive director Chuck Swanson, who announced his retirement in February.

“This season is so special to me,” Swanson said in a news release. “It includes longtime Hancher favorites, newly commissioned work and young artists who are just starting to get attention. And 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.”

Chuck Swanson director Hancher
Chuck Swanson director Hancher

Previously:Chuck Swanson reflects on 37-year career at Iowa City venue

Kicking off season 50 is professional high-diver Dana Kunze, who’ll bring his show outside the Hancher Auditorium for eight free performances starting Aug. 26.

A month later, Leslie Odom Jr. will return to the Hancher stage for the first time in five years. The actor and singer is best known for playing Aaron Burr, third vice president of America, in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton.”

In December, “Godmother of Soul” Patti LaBelle will perform. The Grammy-award winning singer and actress is known for hits like “On My Own,” “Stir It Up” and “Lady Marmalade,” the latter released by the group LaBelle was a frontwoman in.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will help ring the new year in with a performance in January 2023. The orchestra, founded in 1891, has previously performed at the Hancher, including in the 1970s and in 2018.

Hancher’s 50th season will round out in the spring with the acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma in March and a performance by the American Ballet Theatre in May.

The season will also include a September lecture by former Washington Post journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

Tickets are currently on sale to Hancher donors at the $120 level and higher. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Aug. 15.

Here is the full lineup for Hancher Auditorium’s 50th season:


Dana Kunze’s Watershow Productions

When: Aug. 26-28

Too Many Zooz

When: Aug. 26


Levitt Lecture: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

When: Sept. 14

Leslie Odom Jr.

When: Sept. 24

Soweto Gospel Choir presents “HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming”

When: Sept. 29


Aaron Diehl and Brandon Patrick George present “Songs of Black America”

When: Oct. 14

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis “All Rise”

When: Oct. 22

Brentano String Quartet and Dawn Upshaw: “Dido Reimagined”

When: Oct. 25


UI Department of Dance’s Dance Gala 2022

When: Nov. 11-12


When: Nov. 14-16

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis

When: Nov. 19



When: Dec. 1

Patti LaBelle

When: Dec. 9



When: Jan. 21

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

When: Jan. 29


Pilobolus: “Big Five-Oh!”

When: Feb. 4

Kronos Quartet: “At War With Ourselves – 400 Years of You”

When: Feb. 11

Dan + Claudia Zanes: “Let Love Be Your Guide”

When: Feb. 18


Academy of St Martin in the Fields

When: March 2

Club Hancher: Alexa Tarantino Band

When: March 8

Club Hancher: Isaiah J. Thompson Quartet

When: March 23

Club Hancher: Vuyo Sotashe Group

When: March 25

Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott

When: March 28


Conor Hanick with Keir GoGwilt and Jay Campbell

When: April 14

Emerson String Quartet

When: April 21

David Gonzalez and David Carlton: “Finding North”

When: April 28


American Ballet Theatre

When: May 6

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and arts at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Reach her at PBarraza@press-citizen.com or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Hancher Auditorium's 50th season includes Yo-Yo Ma, Patti LaBelle