Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HAIR - The Musical

The revival of Hair is, without a doubt, one of the best shows on Broadway right now, and in some time. We went to see it last Saturday night, thanks to Jeff, who bought us tickets as our wedding present back in April.

If you are 40 or younger, you will like this show. It's frenetic, has great singing, and it's very audience-involved. If you're my age or older, you're going to love the show because it brings back memories of the original and, amazingly, is as well-sung as the original, which is saying a lot. In spite of its outrageousness for the time (1967), with pot smoking, full nudity and the like, Hair managed to produce music that resonated with the mainstream pop market and produced classics through groups like The Cowsills (Good Morning, Starshine), Three Dog Night (Easy To Be Hard), and The 5th Dimension (Aquarius/The Flesh Failures/Let the Sun Shine In).

Even though I liked them, I never was as big a fan of these pop versions because my sister had the original cast recording, and I really liked that album. The pop versions weren't as gritty and genuine as the originals. Surprisingly, a few years ago, Jess and I had been discussing Hair and we both surprised each other that 1) we both liked the show/recordings and 2) that the soundtrack from the 1979 movie was actually our favorite. Jess had downloaded the music onto his iPod and we'd been listening to it regularly ever since then. So, to be honest, when we heard they were reviving the show, we were more than a little concerned that it wouldn't meet our musical expectations. Was that ever unfounded.

Of course, it's a bit funny to see some of the stuff today that caused such shock 40 years ago, but the message of the show is still a good message: practice more tolerance and love of others, and don't be afraid to be you.

The actors were terrific, and there was a good deal of interaction directly with the audience. Actors would come down the aisles and dance with show-goers, dance on the seats in front of them, swing their hair in people's faces, etc. At the end of the show, the audience was invited to join the cast on the stage to dance and sing "Let the Sun Shine In," which was so very cool.

If the traveling show comes to your city, go see it. It's not for kids, though.

Thanks again, Jeff, from both of us! It was the best wedding present we got!


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