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Hair  The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

The revival is now playing at the St. James Theatre at 246 West 44th Street. It runs until September 10, 2011. Hair returns to New York following it's first national tour which visted 20 cities in nine months.  After New York it will start touring  the United States and Canada again.

Hair made it's debut off Broadway at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre on October 17, 1967 and ran for six weeks.  It opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre April 29, 1968.  Running four years (1,750 performances) it closed on July 1, 1972  The revival opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on March 31, 2009.  Winning a Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Revival in 2009. "By August 2009 the revival had recouped it's entire $5,760,000 investment becoming the fastest recouping musical in broadway history" (Wikipedia)  The orgial cast left to go to London's West End. The new cast came in on March 9, 2010. Sales decreased and the revival closed June 27, 2010 doing 29 previews and 519 regular performances. 

"A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960's.  The musical profanity, it's depiction of the use of illegal drugs, it's treatment of sexuality, it's irreverence for the American, and it's nude scence caused much comment and controversey.  The musical broke new ground in musical theatre defining the genre for "rock musical", using racially intergrated cast and inviting the audience on stage for a "Be-In" finale." (Wikipedia)

The story takes place in the east village in 1967 and revolves around the hippie generation.Teens rebelling against their parents and authority. The Vietnam war was in height .  This was the generation of make Love Not War.  Drugs and free love were rampant.

Forty three years hasn't changed much in this wonderful revival.  The cast is great.  The songs keep you in an upbeat mood. Teens still rebel against their elders, some take drugs, don't want to go to war and wear outlandish clothes.

The cast interacts with the audience coming down the aisle, climbing on seats, hanging over  the seats. They rub your hair, climb over you and just get crazy.  Daisies are past around.  On the stage the cast members are holding signs saying things like "Save Water Shower with a Friend"  and "I Saw God She is Black ".  Flyers are past out saying a BE In,  A Love for Peace,  Flower Power.  Burn Your Draft Card  etc rally is being held.

Berger (Steel Burnhardt) as the long haired, make love not war hippie is cool. He looks and plays the part convincingly.

Woof (Matt DeAngelo) the Mick Jagger fan is funning especially in the scence where he receives from Clyde (Paris Remillard) his Mick Jagger poster.

Claude got his draft notice and decides his rebellious days are over and he should go to  war.  His friends object and his parents are deilghted.  Paris is good in the role. You feel sorry for him and wish he made some other decision. 

Also outstanding are Dionne (Phyre Hawkins), Hud (Darius Nichols), Crissy  (Kaitlin Kiyan), Sheila (Caren Lynn Tackett) and Jeanie (Kacie Sheik).

Special koodo's goes to John Lamon who plays the Dad and Margaret Meade,  He goes from being the serious dad to the funniest, campy, shocking  Margaret. I'll let you see whatI I mean, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Things have changed at the end of the first act the cast disrobes.  In the orginal production it was random who took off their clothes.  It was up to the actor if they wanted to.  It was full light. Shocking 43 years ago.  With this production  and the one I saw in Central Park a few years ago the light is now dimmer and the men are in a position were the women blocked them. As the cast turns away from you, you notice the male nudity.  It happens so fast it's hardly shocking any more.

The show ends with the cast encouraging the audience to come on stage and sing with them "Let the Sun Shine In".   Hugs are given from the cast to the people on stage. It's fun and it gives the audiene who are on stage the feeling of what the actors see.  When it was over I asked the cast member if I get my equity card now, he laughed.  Oh well maybe next time. 

This is a terrific revival for baby boomers, kids of baby boomers and everyone else.  You only have 10 weeks to see this production and hear some great music. Like Aquarius, Hair, Where Do I Go and Let The Sun Shine In.  The orginal show was a stepping stone for such actors as Melba Moore, Diane Keaton, Ben Vereen, Keith Carradine, Ted Lane (Love Boat), Meat Loaf, Joe Butler (Loving Spoonful) and Kenney Seyma (Little Anthony and the Imperials).

Review by Rozanna Radakovich. 

Photos By Annazor 

 

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