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University of Iowa News Release

March 25, 2005

'Stomp' Meets 'Iron Chef' In Korea's Zany 'Cookin' April 15 In Hancher

Imagine combining the percussion virtuosity of "Stomp," the culinary competition of "Iron Chef" and the slapstick zaniness of a Jackie Chan movie. You would get something very much like Korea's international hit "Cookin'," which will slice and dice its way into the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for one performance only -- at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 15.

Staged in a restaurant kitchen, "Cookin'" is a hilarious non-verbal percussion show featuring four crazy Korean chefs, working against the clock to prepare a complete wedding banquet. With an overheated maitre d' intent on keeping them on schedule, "Cookin' " blends a concoction of non-stop martial arts, drumming and dance.

"Cookin'" has played to enthusiastic audiences in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia and all around North America, including off-Broadway. So far more than two million people have watched, and some even become part of the action at every performance.

"Cookin'" was developed in Seoul by PMC Production Co. Ltd., in 1997. It received the Sports Chosun's "Special Award" at the 4th Korea Musical Awards in 1998, and more than a million people have attended performances of "Cookin'" in Korea, making it the longest running show in the history of Korean performing arts.

USA Today recommended "Cookin'" as "a real fun family show" that "Slices, dices, and grooves along!"

A New York Times review observed, "Music, mayhem and magic are only a few of the ingredients in the savory stew of skillful, high-energy, good fun. . . . Part food fight and part percussion festival, with razor sharp knives beating out frenetic rhythms while cabbage leaves, cucumbers, carrots, and onions fly around the stage."

The sounds of "Cookin'" are based on Nong-ak, a traditional Korean music form, developed thousands of years ago in the countryside by farmers to ease the hardship of labor-intensive farming and to help encourage unity among the people.

In the 1970s several experts of Nong-ak created an experimental music form that utilizes specific Korean traditional instruments: an hour-glass-shaped drum, a barrel drum, a small gong and a large gong. They called their music Samulnori (which literally means "playing with four instruments"), which has become the most popular and recognizable traditional Korean art form. Samulnori percussionists performed a Hancher concert in 1992.

"Cookin'" applies the traditional rhythms of Samulnori to a fast-paced percussion show combining comedy, rhythm and non-verbal performance. The kitchen setting replaces the typical instruments of Samulnori with familiar utensils including knives, cutting boards, pots, pans, chopsticks and woks.

Local sponsors of the April 15 performance in Hancher, through the University of Iowa Foundation, are Everybody's Whole Foods and the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel, with media support from KDAT-FM.

Tickets are $36/33/30; UI student $32.40/15; senior citizen $32.40/29.70/27; youth $25.20/23.10/21.

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:

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

PHOTOS are available at