Both New York City's Encores! and Los Angeles' Reprise! have revisited Hair in 2001. While New York's concert staging had a cast filled with former Rent cast members, Los Angeles has turned to Sam Harris, Billy Porter, Jennifer Leigh Warren and TV's Steven Weber for Reprise!'s revival of the Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni and James Rado rock opera.
Hair, which runs June 16-24 at the Wadsworth Theatre, rocked Broadway when it transferred there from the Public Theatre in 1968. The loosely-plotted musical follows a group of young hippies as they live, love and then lose one of their number to the Vietnam War. "Aquarius," "Hair" and "Let the Sunshine In" were pop hits; the score also includes "Frank Mills," "Easy to Be Hard," "Where Do I Go" and "Good Morning Starshine."
Harris was Tony-nominated as JoJo in The Life. Porter appeared in Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe and Smokey Joe's Cafe. An L.A. Ovation Award winner for Hello, Again, Warren performed in South Coast Repertory's world premiere musical The Education of Randy Newman and in Broadway's Marie Christine and Big River. Weber is best known for his work on "Wings" and the current sitcom "The Weber Show." His theatre credits include Death of a Salesman, The Real Thing, directed by Mike Nichols and The School for Wives directed by Olympia Dukakis.
Frequent Reprise! helmer Arthur Allan Seidelman directs. He staged last season's Reprise! staging of Mack and Mabel, now headed to Broadway, and is currently at work on Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks for the Geffen Playhouse.
Travis Payne choreographs with musical direction by Peter Matz. Payne's credits include the WB series "Popstars," Naked Boys Singing and the famous swing dance Gap Khakis commercial. Tickets are $55. The Freud Playhouse is located in UCLA's Macgowan Hall. Call (310) 825-2101 or Ticketmaster Fine Arts Line for information.
According to Newsday (June 14), talk that the Encores! mounting of Hair would find a home on Broadway this season has cooled in recent weeks.
— By Christine Ehren