Love Will Steer the Stars: Hair Opens on Broadway March 31
By Adam Hetrick
The Age of Aquarius dawns anew at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre March 31 when the tribal rock musical, Hair, officially opens in a new revival directed by Diane Paulus.
This new production of Hair began life as a 40th anniversary concert presented as part of the Public Theater's Joe's Pub in the Park series, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, in September 2007. It became clear that the timely musical had touched a nerve with audiences, so the Public reassembled the cast of Hair for a full-production as part of New York Sheakespeare Festival's Shakespeare in the Park in summer 2008 (again at the Delacorte).
Under the direction of American Repertory Theatre artistic director Diane Paulus (The Donkey Show, Turandot: Rumble for the Ring) the al fresco Hair quickly became a must-see event, resulting in three extensions at the Delacorte. Much of the original 40th anniversary concert cast returns for the 2009 Broadway transfer that began performances at the Hirschfeld Theatre March 6.
Paulus recently told Playbill.com, "I really feel like as a director, you look for these moments when something you do in the theatre actually hooks up with the larger culture. That's what I dream of: When theatre can finally be bigger than theatre. And this is one of those meetings of time and material and audience and subject matter."
Featuring book and lyrics by the late Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot, Hair boasts an energetic young cast led by Will Swenson as Berger, Tony nominee Gavin Creel as Claude, Sasha Allen as Dionne, Caissie Levy as Sheila, Allison Case as Crissy, Kacie Sheik as Jeanie, Bryce Ryness as Woof, Darius Nichols as Hud, Megan Lawrence as Mother and Andrew Kober as Margaret Mead/Dad.
Tribe members also include Steel Burkhardt, Lauren Elder, Allison Guinn, Anthony Hollock, John Moauro, Ato Blankson-Wood, Brandon Pearson, Paris Remillard, Maya Sharpe, Theo Stockman, Tommar Wilson, Jackie Burns, Kaitlin Kiyan, Nicole Lewis, Megan Reinking and Saycon Sengbloh.
The Hair creative team includes set designer Scott Pask, costume designer Michael McDonald, lighting designer Kevin Adams, sound designer Acme Sound Partners and choreographer Karole Armitage.
"With a score including such enduring musical numbers as 'Let the Sun Shine In,' 'Aquarius,' 'Hair' and 'Good Morning Starshine,' Hair depicts the birth of a cultural movement in the 60's and 70's that changed America forever: the musical follows a group of hopeful, free-spirited young people who advocate a lifestyle of pacifism and free-love in a society riddled with intolerance and brutality during the Vietnam War," according to Broadway production notes. "As they explore sexual identity, challenge racism, experiment with drugs and burn draft cards, the 'tribe' in Hair creates an irresistible message of hope, peace and change that continues to resonate with audiences 40 years later."
Hair is presented on Broadway by The Public Theater, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Kathleen K. Johnson, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Fran Kirmser Productions/Jed Bernstein, Marc Frankel, Broadway Across America, Barbara Manocherian/WenCarLar Productions, JK Productions/Terry Schnuck, Andy Sandberg, JAM Theatricals, The Weinstein Company/Norton Herrick, Jujamcyn Theaters, Joey Parnes, Arielle Tepper Madover, Debbie Bisno/Rebecca Gold, Christopher Hart, Apples and Oranges, Tony & Ruthe Ponturo, Joseph Traina by special arrangement with Elizabeth Ireland McCann.
Hair was the first indoor production produced by the Public Theater (at the time known as the New York Shakespeare Festival), inaugurating the Public's current Lafayette Street address. Under the direction of Gerald Freeman, Hair premiered at the Public Oct. 17, 1967 and ran for six-weeks, prior to transferring to the Cheetah discotheque, where it ran through January of 1968.
A retooled version of Hair, under the direction of the late Tom O'Horgan, featuring an augmented score, shortened book, the now infamous nude scene and author-lyricist James Rado in the role of Claude, opened on Broadway April 29, 1968 at the Biltmore Theatre where it ran for 1,750 performances.
Hair will play the following performance schedule: Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM and 7:30 PM.
For tickets phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.
For further information visit HairBroadway.
The Al Hirschfeld Theatre is located at 302 West 45th Street.
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