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HAIR

 

“This is New Line’s third production of Hair in less than ten years, and you know why from the moment you smell the incense. Director Scott Miller has a wonderful feeling for this material; his production delivers the hippie world with sensual precision.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Hair at New Line Theatre is unexpectedly, beautifully, joyfully, mournfully, tragically relevant again. Gerome Ragni and James Rado have turned out to be poet-prophets and their book and lyrics are given life by Galt MacDermot's eclectic rock score. . . See it to celebrate, to mourn, and finally to celebrate again for there is hope and light and no matter how hard 'they' try, they cannot ‘end this beauty’.” – Andrea Braun, PlaybackSTL

 

graphic design by Matt Reedy    My body is walking in space.
    My soul is in orbit
    With God, face to face.
    . . .
    On a rocket to the fourth dimension,
    Total self-awareness the intention.
    . . .
    Walking in space
    We find the purpose of peace,
    The beauty of life
    You can no longer hide.
    Our eyes are open,
    Wide, wide, wide...

             – "Walking in Space," HAIR

New Line Theatre's 18th season opened with the return of the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical HAIR, as part of the 2008 St. Louis Political Theatre Festival.

Judith Newmark wrote in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch about our 2001 production, “Artistically, it was one of the best productions New Line ever staged, and everybody seemed to know it.” We promise an even wilder adventure this time.

Full of great songs like "Aquarius," "Let the Sun Shine In," "Easy to Be Hard," "Good Morning, Starshine," and so many more, HAIR remains one of the most important works in the history of the American theatre, and yet so many people know so little about it. HAIR is so much more than its drugs and rock music and its famous nude scene. Without it there would have been no Rent or A Chorus Line, no Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago or Cats. HAIR changed everything. Drawing from the anti-war movement, the hippie culture, the experimental theatre movement, the drug culture, rock and roll, the Beat poetry of Allen Ginsberg, Eastern philosophies, and so much more, HAIR emerged in 1967 as one of the towering achievements of the twentieth century, a work of theatre so fully realized, so culturally significant, so shockingly real and honest -- and so iconically American -- that still today it retains its power to move and shock audiences, and to change forever the lives of those who work on it.  Click here to play "Aquarius"

March on the Pentagon, Oct. 22, 1967 (click for more info)At no other time in the last forty years has America been so exactly as it was in 1968, when HAIR opened on Broadway -- and the show still retains what Martin Luther King called "the fierce urgency of now." When HAIR first opened, our nation was buckling under the weight of an unpopular president and a country divided by culture wars; a seemingly endless war in a foreign land, predicated on lies; a demonized "other" (Communists then, Muslims now), government corruption and cover-up; an anti-war political campaign; racial violence; and so much more. Rick Perlstein writes in Nixonland, "The New Politics was defined by disgust with the business-as-usual political dances of the old politicians in a time of moral enormity, and by the belief that organizing youthful and not-so-youthful idealists to kick that elite and their son-of-a-bitch handmaidens clean out of power was no less than a prerequisite for national survival." They had The Smothers Brothers to chronicle it all; we have The Daily Show. HAIR has resonance for us today like it hasn't had since its debut, as America faces yet again one of the most important elections some of us will ever know. If we make the right choices, that next president might at long last "let the sun shine in."

OUR BLOGS

Trisha Bakula

Robin Berger

Nikki Glenn

Rachel Hanks

Terry Love

Todd Micali

Scott Miller

Talichia Noah

HAIR
criticizes and satirizes racism, discrimination, war, violence, pollution, sexual repression, and other societal evils. It shocks its audience (though that is not really its goal) by challenging what they believe, by showing how absurd, how offensive, how nonsensical, and in some cases, how dangerous are the behavior and language that society calls "normal." And the show asks some serious questions: Why did we send American soldiers halfway around the world to Vietnam to kill strangers when there was no direct threat to our country? Why can’t we talk openly about sex? Why are certain words "dirty" and other words that mean the same thing acceptable? Why are there so many offensive words for black people but hardly any for white people? Why are so many straight people interested in what gay people do in private? If the Constitution guarantees free speech, why can’t we burn the flag? Is it right to protest and refuse to follow laws which are unjust? All questions we're still grappling with.

Time Magazine, July 7, 1967 - click for larger imageTime Magazine published an article in 1967 about the hippie subculture, and wrote, "The hippies have popularized a new word, psychedelic, which the Random House Dictionary of English Language defines as: 'Of or noting a mental state of great calm, intensely pleasureful perception of the senses, esthetic entrancement and creative impetus; of or noting any of the group of drugs producing this effect.' With those drugs has come the psychedelic philosophy, an impassioned belief in the self-revealing, mind-expanding powers of potent weeds and seeds and chemical compounds known to man since prehistory but wholly alien to the rationale of Western society. Unlike other accepted stimuli, from nicotine to liquor, the hallucinogens promise those who take the 'trip' a magic-carpet escape from reality in which perceptions are heightened, senses distorted, and the imagination permanently bedazzled with visions of Ideological verity."

In 1967, Timothy Leary wrote, in The Politics of Ecstasy, "Hippy is an establishment label for a profound, invisible, underground, evolutionary process. For every visible hippy, barefoot, beflowered, beaded, there are a thousand invisible members of the turned-on underground. Persons whose lives are tuned in to their inner vision, who are dropping out of the TV comedy of American Life." Director Tom O’Horgan said in 1968 that he saw HAIR as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create "a theatre form whose demeanor, language, clothing, dance, and even its name accurately reflect a social epoch in full explosion." John J. O’Connor wrote about Hair in The Wall Street Journal, "No matter the reaction to its content . . . I suspect the form will be important to the history of the American musical." It has been.

New Line's Osage Tribe includes (along with their chosen Tribe names): Robin Berger (Dabbawala), Wayne Easter (Zion), Zachary Allen Farmer (Hotdog), Ryan Ferris-Hanson (Willow), Nikki Glenn (Hecate), Rachel Hanks (Baby Blue), Aaron Lawson (Arrow), Terry Love (Monsoon), Khnemu Menu-Ra (Memnoch), Todd Micali (Seeker), Talichia Noah (Freedom Child), Todd Schaefer (Daffodil Dreamer), John Sparger (Peace Frog), and Marcy Wiegert (Polka-Dot). The show is directed by Scott Miller (Kerouac) and stage managed by Trisha Bakula (Blackout), with sets by Todd Schaefer and The Tribe, lights by Kenneth Zinkl, and costumes by Thom Crain.

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to explore more? We recommend:

The original cast albums of the Broadway and off Broadway productions of Hair, in one 2-CD set

A video of the 1968 Los Angeles cast, led by the show's two authors and original Broadway leads, performing "Aquarius," "Hair, " and "The Flesh Failures" on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Books about Hair

– director Scott Miller's book Let the Sun Shine In: the Genius of HAIR

Letting My Hair Down by original cast member Lorrie Davis

Good HAIR Days by original cast member Jonathan Johnson

The Age of Hair by Barbara Lee Horn

 

The new documentary HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In by Pola Rappaport (with an appearance by New Line artistic director Scott Miller)

An analysis essay about Hair by New Line's artistic director, and a really smart New York Times review of the 2008 outdoor revival of Hair

A Time Magazine article from July 1967, "The Hippies: Philosophy of a Subculture"

A first-hand account from a 1960s draft protestor

Hippy.com, a comprehensive site chronicling the 1960s, including many links, articles, pictures, and more; and the excellent philosophical article, "The Way of the Hippy." And also, The Hippie Museum

The excellent new book, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

A Wikipedia article about Hair and one about the first Human Be-In (an event recreated in Hair), and several Be-In's in Central Park in New York

A terrific article in the November 2001 American Theatre magazine about New Line's HAIR

Original Hair producer Michael Butler's Hair Tribes website; and The Official Hair Online Archives and a list of other Hair websites

Join Michael Butler's national HAIR discussion list, or join another Hair e-mail subscription discussion list

A page from Rave magazine, May 1966 -- the source for "Frank Mills" (under "Boys and Girls, Lost and Found")

New Line's webpage for our 2000 and 2001 productions of Hair

Check out all the various Hair cast albums at Footlight Records

Nicholas von Hoffman's excellent book about the Summer of Love, We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against

The Psychedelix website, full of 60s/70s graphics, icons, and wallpaper; and also the Synthesoft website with some amazing psychedelic screen savers

The film Hair (which none of the writers liked) on videotape or DVD

From CNN.com -- Find out if you would have been drafted during the Vietnam war.

GET INVOLVED and CHANGE THE WORLD! Here are several ways...

Stories from the Asphalt, the new novel from John Sparger, who plays Berger in New Line's HAIR

The 2008 St. Louis Political Theatre Festival

 

     

 

video by Aaron Lawson

 

 

   New Line Cabaret, Episode IV