CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 13, 2001
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Advance "Riverdance" phone
interviews must be requested through Arts Center Relations, using forms provided
to us by the companys press office. Radio and television appearances
while the company is in Iowa City must be requested in advance through the
same process. Contact Winston ASAP if you wish to request an advance or in-town
'Riverdance' Comes To Hancher May 2-6
The 2000-2001 performing arts season at the University
of Iowa Hancher Auditorium will conclude with eight performances of the international
sensation "Riverdance--The Show," a spirited celebration of Irish
music, song and dance May 2-6. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May
2; at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 3; at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4; at 2 p.m.
and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, May 6.
Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Maya Doherty and
directed by John McColgan, "Riverdance" focuses on the evolution
of Irish dance, as well as its influences on other cultures -- including Russian
dance, flamenco and African-American tap dance.
Whelan won a 1997 Grammy Award for "Best Music Show
Album" for his original "Riverdance" music and lyrics. The
recording, which was number one on the Billboard World Music Chart for more
than six months, has sold more than two million copies world-wide, and is
certified Platinum in the United States.
The "Riverdance" production has played to sold-out
houses around the globe, drawing audiences of more than 11 million, and an
additional 6.5 million videos of the show have been sold. The video has become
the best-selling video in UK history. There are currently three "Riverdance"
companies -- two on tour and one on Broadway in New York.
"Riverdance" had its premiere in 1995 at the
Point Theatre in Dublin, and it was an immediate popular and critical hit.
Fintan OToole wrote, "When Riverdance first opened
in Dublin, you could hear, even above the pounding feet and the swirling music,
the audience gasping for breath. And then an explosion of shouts and whoops
as all that air bursts out in a wave of wonderment."
The shows phenomenal success was predicted by its
origin -- a seven-minute intermission entertainment for the 1994 Eurovision
Song Contest, televised throughout Europe to an audience of more than 300
Response to that brief segment was so overwhelming that
the creative team was inspired to develop a lavish, full-length production
of Irish music and dance.
Composer Whelan describes the development of the score
in reverent terms. "There are two particular problems for the composer
writing in the idiom of any given folk or ethnic tradition -- one
is social and the other is technical," he has written. "If the composer
is Irish and working with modes and forms of traditional Irish music, then
the first of these problems is most acute -- and for very positive reasons.
"Traditional music holds a special position in Ireland.
To many Irish people it has a defining role culturally and provides an authentic
and eloquent link to their past. It is also a rich musical vein that reveals
much about Ireland and the Irish -- quirky, mischievous, evasive dance tunes,
and dark proud airs that can heal grief and comfort loss. So, when you find
yourself in and around music that has such a long tradition, and such delicate
associations and nuance, it can begin to feel like being in a church."
Director McColgan says of the dancing, "We wanted
to open out the new vision of Irish dance, to have it share the stage with
other world dancing. We dreamed that by doing so, these dances would mingle
and spark off each other so as to create a performance with its own identity.
It would be a performance rooted in the folk memory and arts of the Irish
people, yet fresh, unique and exciting, and accessible to people everywhere."
McColgan found his confirmation months later, in New Yorks
Radio City Music Hall. "In the tension that always precedes curtain up,
I looked across the rows of expectant faces of those six thousand, and wondered
how they would react," he recalls. "Had we overreached ourselves?
Could this show that had come from our hearts really take another city and
a different continent by storm?
"In the thunderous standing ovation that followed,
we knew what the entertainment world now knows: that Riverdance
had crossed all boundaries and taken its place as a performance the whole
theater-going world would enjoy."
Corporate sponsors for "Riverdance" are Iowa
State Bank and Trust Company and Dahl Ford of Davenport, Inc., through the
University of Iowa Foundation.
Tickets for the Wednesday and Thursday performances are
$55, $45 and $30 ($49.50, $40.50 and $27 for UI students). All tickets for
the Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances are $60, $50 and $35.
Ticket sales for "Riverdance" have been brisk.
The most extensive choices for seating remain for the Thursday matinee and
the Sunday evening performance.
Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160.
Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to
(319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express.
UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty
and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures
may be requested by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.People
with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial
(319) 335-1158. This number is answered by box office personnel prepared to
offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access, hearing augmentation
and other services. The line is TDD-equipped for people with hearing impairment
who use that technology.
For UI arts information, visit <www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa>
on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.
Learn more about "Riverdance" at <www.riverdance.com>.