"Eyes Look Your Last": Tony Award-Winning Revival of Hair Closes On Broadway June 27
By Adam Hetrick
The Tony Award-winning revival of the Gerome Ragni-James Rado-Galt MacDermot musical Hair, the iconic 1968 rock tuner about peace and free love that changed Broadway's musical landscape, ends its Broadway run June 27 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
Directed by Tony Award nominee Diane Paulus, the 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, where it opened to rave reviews March 31, 2009. The revival recouped its initial investment of $5.76 million in August 2009.
Upon its closing, Hair will have played 29 preview performance and 519 regular performances. The West End production, which opened with members of the original Broadway revival cast in April 2010, will shutter Sept. 4. Hair opened to strong reviews in London but failed to ignite the box office. A U.S. tour will launch in October at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
When the musical made a fresh, acclaimed return to Broadway, Paulus spoke with Playbill.com about bringing truth to the hippy counterculture movement. "It was really [about] getting to the inside of what those clothes meant, or what the peace sign meant, and encouraging the actors to always be real and truthful. My whole approach for the process with the actors was very strict with how they would approach the work, how they would bring justice to this period and time, and how they would relive it," she said.
Paulus also discussed the passionate response from audience members. "To live here and feel the city of New York come out for the show and demand the show and want the show, it was bigger than theatre. It was about some kind of community coming together and taking over and saying, 'We want to feel alive, we want to make change. Watch out, here we come.' . . . 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."
The Broadway revival cast of Hair currently features "American Idol" contestants Diana DeGarmo as Sheila and Ace Young as Berger, as well as Annaleigh Ashford (Wicked, Legally Blonde) as Jeanie, Jeannette Bayardelle (The Color Purple) as Dionne, Vanessa Ray as Crissy, Kyle Riabko (Spring Awakening) as Claude, Wallace Smith as Hud and Jason Wooten as Woof.
Completing the company are Justin Badger, Nicholas Belton, Larkin Bogan, Natalie Bradshaw, Catherine Brookman, Briana Carlson-Goodman, Antwayn Hopper, Erika Jerry, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Rachel Bay Jones, Mykal Kilgore, Josh Lamon, Nicole Lewis, Anastacia McClesky, Paris Remillard, Arbender Robinson, Kate Rockwell, Cailan Rose, Rashidra Scott, Jen Sese, Lawrence Stallings, Terrance Thomas and Emma Zaks.
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.
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 and by special arrangement with Elizabeth Ireland McCann.
The revival earned the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The critically acclaimed production also earned Tony nominations for Best Direction (Paulus), Best Choreography (Karole Armitage), Best Actor (Gavin Creele), Best Featured Actor (Will Swenson), Best Sound Design (Acme Sound Partners), Best Lighting Design (Kevin Adams) and Best Costume Design (Michael McDonald).
Hair has book and lyrics by the late Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. 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 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.
The Al Hirschfeld Theatre is located at 302 West 45th Street. For further information visit HairBroadway.
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