Will Hair Tour? Original Producer Takes On Partner to Conjure Age of Aquarius

News   Will Hair Tour? Original Producer Takes On Partner to Conjure Age of Aquarius
Michael Butler, the producer who presented the 1968 Broadway production of Hair — the tribal love rock musical that challenged the look, feel and sound of American musical theatre — is partnering with producer Bob Emmer to create the previously-announced new national tour of the show.

The plan for the show came to light in 2002, when Michael Mayer was mentioned as director of the show. It's not clear if Mayer is still available, as his plate is full with the new national tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie and his feature directorial debut with "A Home at the End of the World." Another directorial candidate and the creative team have not been announced, and confirmations of cities and dates are not firm at this stage.

Variety first reported the pairing of Butler and Emmer March 5, though Butler has said since 2002 that he was working on a tour plan. Emmer is chief operating officer of Shout Factory, and was a former vice president at Warner Music Group and Rhino Records.

Little about the Hair revival is firm, beyond an intended fall 2003 launch and the possibility of a start in Los Angeles. The producers told Variety capitalization for the show is $3 million.

The staging is intended solely for tour, and is not necessarily Broadway-bound. Variety reported that composer Galt MacDermot might re-address the score's arrangements or orchestrations for the tour.

Hair focuses on a group of hippies — called The Tribe — in New York City in the late 1960s, and gives voice to their passions and frustrations in loose scenes and interactions, including a rant against war, an embrace of free love (including a group nude scene) and odes to nature, life, drugs and multiculturalism. Book and lyrics are by Gerome Ragni & James Rado, music is by Galt MacDermot. Tom O'Horgan was the original director.

Heather MacRae, Melba Moore, Keith Carradine and Joe Morton were among performers in the early Broadway run of the show, at the Biltmore Theatre. The broken-down Biltmore is now being reconditioned as the new Broadway home of Manhattan Theatre Club, set to re-open in October.

Producer Butler also had a hand in the 1987 Broadway revival of the show that gave the world " Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine," "Frank Mills," "I Got Life," "Where Do I Go" and "Donna." He maintains a website featuring his producing projects at www.michaelbutler.com.

Hair had recent successful concert runs by Encores! in New York City and Reprise in Los Angeles, but plans for full revivals were not sparked by the concerts. In 1991, on the eve of President George Bush's Gulf War, a tour of Hair went out, with the angry "hippie" cast shouting "No more bombs, no more war!" at legit houses around the country.

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