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New executive director lays out his plans for UI performance arts and engagement

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Hancher Auditorium is celebrating its 50th year with many changes on the horizon. A new leader is at the helm and there's a business model to sustain Hancher's future as the University of Iowa continues to phase out $1.5 million in annual support.

Andre Perry was selected this May as executive director of Hancher Auditorium and the newly created UI Office of Performing Arts and Engagement. A former executive director of the Englert Theatre and most recently the university's director of arts, engagement, and inclusion, Perry succeeds Chuck Swanson who served in the position for two decades. Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with Perry about his vision for the upcoming season which is all about celebration as the venue brings performances and lecturers to the stage after years of setbacks from the pandemic.

Perry describes how he is using his new position and office to better serve students across all academic departments in collaboration with visiting professionals and the community. Hancher is also on its way to becoming self-sustaining by the 2023-2024 season after the university announced budget cutbacks in 2020.

Later in the hour, Drew Minerd shares how he became the only true Iowan in the current Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. He's eager to return to his native state to witness the butter sculpture in his likeness that is part of a display celebrating the 60th anniversary of the film adaptation of the Meredith Willson-penned musical at this year's state fair.

2022 Drew Minerd butter sculpture
Charity Nebbe/IPR
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The 2022 butter sculpture at the Iowa State Fair includes this likeness of Drew Minerd, an Iowa actor in the Broadway revival of "The Music Man."

Guests:

  • Andre Perry, executive director of Hancher Auditorium and the Office of Performing Arts and Engagement at the University of Iowa
  • Drew Minerd, actor
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Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Natalie Dunlap is a rising junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and minoring in gender, women's & sexuality studies. She is from Iowa City and in her free time enjoys getting coffee and reading downtown with friends.