The Durham Performing Arts Center is bringing the award-winning 2009 Broadway revival of the rock musical Hair, directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Karole Armitage, to Durham on May 10-15. The self-styled 1967 “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” by composer Galt MacDermot and librettists and lyricists Gerome Ragni and James Rado is a cheeky celebration of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as well as a profanity-laced protest against the Vietnam War.
The score for Hair includes such Top 40 hits as “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Easy to Be Hard,” and “Good Morning, Starshine”; but this message musical deals with mature subject matter and contains brief nudity. In 2008, Time Magazine wrote, “Today Hair seems, if anything, more daring than ever.”
According to Durham Performing Arts Center:
“Hair depicts the birth of a cultural movement in the 1960s and 1970s 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. As they explore sexual identity, challenge racism, experiment with drugs and burn draft cards, the show resonates with an irresistible message of hope more than 40 years after it first opened on Broadway.”
Hair, which is set in the East Village of New York City in the 1960s, opened Off-Broadway, under the direction of Gerald Freedman, on Oct. 29, 1967 at the Joseph Papp Public Theater/Anspacher Theatre, where it played 49 performances before closing on Dec. 10, 1967. (Freedman is currently dean of Drama at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.)
The Broadway debut of Hair, directed by Tom O’Horgan, took place on April 29, 1968 at the Biltmore Theatre, where the eyebrow-raising rock musical played 1,750 performances before closing on July 1, 1972. The original Broadway production starred Gerome Ragni as the free spirit George Berger, James Rado as Berger’s best friend the handsome Claude Hooper Bukowski, Lynn Kellogg as passionate protestor Sheila Franklin, Sally Eaton as Jeannie Ryan, Lamont Washington as Lafayette (a.k.a. Hud), and Steve Curry as Woof — plus Diane Keaton as a Waitress and Melba Moore as Dionne.
Galt MacDermot won the 1968 Vernon Rice-Drama Desk Award for his music, and Hair received nominations for the 1969 Tony Awards® for Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical.
There was a brief Broadway revival of Hair in 1977; and the 1979 motion-picture version of Hair, directed by Milos Forman (Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ragtime), starred John Savage as Claude, Treat Williams as Berger, Beverly D’Angelo as Sheila, Annie Golden as Jeannie, Dorsey Wright as Hud, and Don Dacus as Woof. It received two 1980 Golden Globe nominations: for Best Motion Picture — Musical/Comedy and New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture — Male (Treat Williams).
Hair had another brief Broadway revival in 2004 before the 2009 revival, directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Karole Armitage, began on March 31, 2009 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The latest-and-greatest version of Hair won the 2009 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical and the 2009 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical. The 2009 Broadway revival of Hair closed on June 27, 2010, after 519 performances; and the 2009 revival of Hair is scheduled to return to Broadway on July 13, 2011 for a 10-week engagement at the St. James Theatre that ends Sept. 10, 2011.
Also according to Durham Performing Arts Center:
“The New York Times says ‘Diane Paulus’s thrilling, emotionally rich  production delivers intense, unadulterated joy’; Time Out New York says ‘Hair speaks to a whole new generation!’; and The Washington Post calls it ‘irresistible … the best version yet!’ …
“The Hair National Tour is produced by The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, artistic director, [and] Andrew D. Hamingson, executive director), Nederlander Productions, Inc.; Carl Moellenberg/Wenlarbar Productions; Rebecca Gold/Myla Lerner; Rick Costello; Joy Newman & David Schumeister; Paul G. Rice/Paul Bartz; Debbie Bisno; Christopher Hart Productions; John Pinckard; Terry Schnuck; Joey Parnes; and by special arrangement with Elizabeth Ireland McCann.”
The 2011 tour cast of Hair includes (in alphabetical order): Steel Burkhardt as Berger; Matt DeAngelis as Woof; Phyre Hawkins as Dionne; Darius Nichols as Hud; Paris Remillard as Claude; Kacie Sheik as Jeanie; and Caren Lyn Tackett as Sheila; Lulu Fall as Abraham Lincoln. It co-stars Allison Guinn as Mother and Buddhadalirama; Josh Lamon as Father and Margaret Mead; and Lee Zarrett as the Principal, Hubert, and John Wilkes Booth.
Other members of the Tribe include Shaleah Adkisson, Nicholas Belton, Mike Evariste, Marshal Kennedy Carolan, Nkrumah Gatling, John Moauro, Christine Nolan, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Arbender Robinson, Cailan Rose, Sara Ruzicka, and Jen Sese; and Swings include Emily Afton, Larkin Bogan, Corey Bradley, Laura Dreyfuss, Tripp Fountain, and Tanesha Ross.
In addition to director Diane Paulus, choreographer Karole Armitage, and the producers named above, the creative team for the current national tour of Hair includes scenic designer Scott Pask, lighting designer Kevin Adams, costume designer Michael McDonald, sound designer Acme Sound Partners, music supervisor Nadia DiGiallonardo, music director/conductor David Truskinoff, music coordinator Seymour Red Press, and associate choreographer Christine O’Grady.
SECOND OPINION: May 6th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/13143474/article-Singing-in–Hair–is-a-wild-ride?instance=main_article (Note: You must register first to read this article).
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents HAIR at 7:30 p.m. May 10-12, 8 p.m. May 13, 2 and 8 p.m. May 14, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. May 15 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
TICKETS: $25.75-$73 (including fees).
Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/745477.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.hairontour.com/.
The Musical: http://www.hairthemusical.com/ (official website by James Rado), http://www.michaelbutler.com/hair/ (online archives by Michael Butler), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_musical (Wikipedia), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=4153 (Internet Broadway Database).
The 2009 Broadway Revival: http://www.hairontour.com/ (official website).
The Tour: http://www.hairontour.com/ (official website).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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