The Englert’s Centennial Celebration signature lineup embraces a hundred years of tradition, from a not-so-silent movie to music that breaks boundaries. It’s a blend of old and new, just like the theater itself.
And a mix of local, national and international flavors.
“We said let’s just try to get some different things. ... We wanted to bring in some stuff from outside of Iowa that would be a special event — something that might not come through Iowa otherwise, like the Kronos Quartet, and we wanted to do things that really spoke to what’s going on in our own region,” says Andre Perry, 35, the Englert’s executive director.
First up is an ensemble that tops Perry’s list of the coolest events he’s seen on the Englert stage. More than a movie and more than a concert, the Alloy Orchestra is a brassy marriage of silent films and music.
Last year the Massachusetts trio performed original music to the silent film, “Metropolis.” Perry calls it “a life-changing event.”
“It was just so overwhelming in its beauty and energy,” he says. “It was two and a half hours long and I felt like I was sitting there for 10 minutes. ... That show just electrified people.”
With all the other Englert options year-round, from local to international musicians to University of Iowa events, film festivals and family fare in all price ranges, the staff strives to appeal across a wide swath of tastes and budgets.
He’s heartened by the role the theater plays in the heart and heartbeat of the city.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been watching downtown Iowa City get livelier,” Perry says. “It’s a combination of everyone doing the best they can, whether that’s more and interesting restaurants coming online, whether that’s the booking and the programming that we’re doing at the theater and being a community resource, whether that’s the city thinking about how they zone things, like new high-rises going up. It’s a whole big feedback loop.”
“With the centennial, it is a celebration,” Perry says. “We hope people can come out and just see something, join us in the house for something and just have a good time.”
Oct. 18: Kronos Quartet
Nov.8: The Klezmatics
Tickets and information: Single tickets and centennial packages at Englert Box Office, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City; (319) 688-2653 or Englert.org