Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hair, or How yes, let the sunshine in!

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
Directed by Diane Paulus
With Ato Blankson-Wood, Steel Burkhardt, Jackie Burns, Allison Case, Lauren Elder, Jonathan Groff, Allison Guinn, Anthony Hollock, Kaitlin Kiyan, Andrew Kober, Megan Lawrence, Nicole Lewis, Caren Lyn Manuel, Patina Renea Miller, John Moauro, Darius Nichols, Brandon Pearson, Megan Reinking, Paris Remillard, Bryce Ryness, Saycon Sengbloh, Maya Sharpe, Kacie Sheik, Theo Stockman, Will Swenson, and Tommar Wilson.

Maybe it's because I'm not into hippies. Or because I'm not American. Or because I have been living in a bubble for my entire lives (said bubble responds to Canada! or Colombia! depending on the year) but Hair had always eluded me as a musical I'd be interested in. Funny how Jonathan Groff and a free ticket can change that.

Paulus' production - set at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, with its open space and grassy stage - begins with all the members of the cast dancing their way from all sides of the theater towards the stage, to the tune of Aquarius. Not to sound like a squinty Oscar winner but they had me at "When the moon..." -

After that, the vignettes that make up the show had me enraptured (despite the middle aged audience around me which seemed a bit too intent on reminiscing - and singing-along! - through the entire performance). And of course this was just reinforced, what with the witty script, the on-stage nudity, the amazing singing and the vibrant choreography. It even made me forget I was watching hippies... which, really, have never been my thang.There was so much energy on stage that I wasn't surprised when at the end they invited the audience to join them in a dance-fest to 'Let the Sunshine...'

There's more to be said, I'm sure. But as with any other wonderful theatrical experience, nothing beats the real thing. So catch it soon, before they run out of excuses for more extensions (after its third extension, Hair is running til Sept 14). A

1 comment:

Vance said...

Oh Yey! Finally your review of Hair!

"Not to sound like a squinty Oscar winner but they had me at "When the moon..."" - You couldn't have said it any better!

Funny how Groff and free things can change your mind about a musical that seemed long dead and irrelevant!