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Release: Feb. 8, 2002

'Copenhagen,' Best Play in the 2000 Tony Awards, comes to Hancher Feb. 26 and 27

Michael Frayn's "Copenhagen," winner of the 2000 Tony Award for "Best Play," will come to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for two performances -- at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 26 and 27.

Nuclear physics, morality, world history, international relations and vivid real-life personalities converge in the powerful drama of "Copenhagen." These issues will be previewed in two discussions before the "Copenhagen" performances, utilizing the academic expertise of the UI:

-- UI Center for Human Rights fellow Carol Spaziani will moderate a free panel discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, broadcast live on the library's cable channel (channel 10 in Iowa City). Participants will be Burns Weston, a faculty member of the UI College of Law specializing in international law; William Klink, a faculty member in the UI department of physics and astronomy; pharmacologist Birgit Coffman; and David Klemm, director of the UI School of Religion.

-- Weston; Amitava Bhattacharjee, a faculty member in the department of physics and astronomy; and theatre arts faculty member Art Borreca, a dramaturg and head of the UI Playwrights Workshop, will be interviewed at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, broadcast live on WSUI, AM 910, from the Java House in downtown Iowa City.

"Copenhagen" was inspired by actual events that have intrigued and baffled historians for more than 60 years. In 1941 physicists Werner Heisenberg and Neils Bohr -- long-time friends whose work together had opened the way to the atomic age -- found themselves on opposite sides of World War II. Heisenberg made a covert trip from Germany, at great personal risk, to meet with his Danish counterpart and Bohr's wife in Copenhagen.

The meeting ended in disaster, but why did it happen at all? Why did Heisenberg risk the trip to Denmark, and what did the three people say to each other? What happened at this pivotal meeting that was a defining moment in recent history?

These questions were tackled by the multi-talented English writer best known for his Broadway hits "Noises Off" (also adapted for the screen by Disney) and "Benefactors," the
best-selling novel "Headlong," the international Emmy Award-winning "First and Last" and the John Cleese comedy "Clockwise" Frayn has also published a volume of philosophy, "Constructions," and has translated plays of Chekhov.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times called Frayn's "Copenhagen," "The most invigorating and ingenious play of ideas in many a year. Endlessly fascinating, filled with a crackling, questing vitality. . . An electrifying work of art."

Jacques LeSourd wrote for Gannett, "A genuine play of ideas, the miraculously intelligent 'Copenhagen' will leave you extraordinarily stimulated," while for Newsweek Jack Kroll described "Copenhagen" as "a brilliant, gripping play which deals with just about the biggest ideas there are. Frayn creates riveting suspense and makes the discussion of quantum physics seem like revelations of character."

And Michael Kuchwara wrote for the Associated Press, "'Copenhagen' is a stirring flesh and blood drama, as emotional as it is intellectually bracing. It is the humanity and heartbreak of these three people that remains most potent in the memory."

The play was a hit in England -- winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play -- before it was transplanted to Broadway. On Broadway, the play and its production were nominated for three Tony Awards, and won all three, topped by the "Best Play" honor to Frayn's script.

The touring production -- starring Sean Arbuckle, William Cain and Tanny McDonald -- transfers the concept of the award-winning Broadway production to the road.

The Sheraton Iowa City Hotel is the corporate sponsor of "Copenhagen," through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets to "Copenhagen" are $40, $37 and $35. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20 percent discount, and Zone 2 and 3 tickets are available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher Auditorium box office business 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. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:< >.

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: <>.

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