To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hair, which opened on Broadway in 1968, a new production of The American Tribal Love Rock Musical will launch a national tour in April 2018.
Produced by Michael Butler, who also produced the 1968 and 1977 Broadway productions of Hair, performances are scheduled for April 20–June 30 at the newly renovated Palace Theatre at 630 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Michael Arabian directs the new production, which will officially open April 29.
Hair will have a new, revised book written by the original writer-lyricist James Rado, who has survived his co-writer-collaborator, the late Jerome Ragni. Galt MacDermot wrote the music.
The tour will then continue to the Laguna Playhouse, running August 8–September 2. Other dates have yet to be announced.
In a statement Butler said, “Hair was the Oklahoma! of its time. It was as though all of Broadway stopped in its tracks as we were able to define relevancy, not just for a theatre audience, but for an entire generation. Everyone had to see it—more as an experience than a show—and the numbers of productions we oversaw really couldn’t satisfy the demand at its height. And in the waning days of when popular music looked to Broadway for hits, it felt like the radio was stocked with our songs.”
Director Arabian added, “The timing of this revival could not be better, as we are experiencing once again social activism very much like the 60’s. Fighting for human rights, love and peace, pro-environment, anti-war, freedom of religion, race and gender equality—all proving that the themes of Hair are still relevant. This production will be as much a movement for social awareness, as it is a musical event. It can and has had impact all over the world, being the only musical in history—save Hamilton—that entered the mainstream pop and political cultures.” Arabian continued, “There will be a ‘Happening’ outside of the theatre before the show, with displays and representatives from many progressive organizations. The audience will then enter into the theatre where they will have an immersive experience encountering the tribe of Hair, who have inhabited the space preparing their movement for social change. The show will have a new staging, using period TV broadcasts and images from the 60's combined with the state-of-the-art projection technology of today.”
A Tony-winning, Diane Paulus-directed revival of Hair began life in 2007 as a special 40th anniversary concert staging at the Delacorte Theater. In 2008 the Public mounted Hair as part of Shakespeare in the Park, where the run was extended three times. The production transferred to Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre March 31, 2009, and concluded in June 2010. A subsequent national tour made its way back to Broadway for a limited engagement in summer 2011.
Songs in Hair include "Aquarius," "Donna," "Hashish," "Sodomy," "Colored Spade," "Manchester, England," "I'm Black," "Ain't Got No," "I Believe in Love," "Air," "I Got Life," "Hair," "Easy to Be Hard," "Frank Mills," "Hare Krishna," "Where Do I Go," "Electric Blues," "Black Boys," "White Boys," "Walking in Space," "What a Piece of Work Is Man," "How Dare They Try," "Good Morning Starshine," "The Flesh Failures," and "Let the Sun Shine In."
Producer Butler and documentary filmmaker Richard Marsall are also assembling a new film about Hair that reflects “today’s tipping points in the youth social movement while celebrating Hair's music, energy, influence and infinite cultural relevance.” The documentary will include behind-the-scenes casting, rehearsals, and footage from the upcoming production.