from the Cambridge Guide To American Theatre

To see the photo that accompanied this entry click here. Note that the Guide incorrectly identifies this photo as being from the 1977 revival.

Also note that this articles does not count previews in it's performance totals, of performance dates.

Two-act musical, music by Galt MacDermot, words by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, first opened at the Off-Broadway Public Theater (Anspacher), 29 October 1967, running 94 performances; moved uptown to broadway's Biltmore Theatre, 29 April 1968, running 1,742 performances.  This "American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" was a major event in theatre history, as traditional culture met counterculture.  Hair was a "concept" musical in that it did not attempt to tell a story, but rather to explain a way of life: that of the anti-war drop-outs of the East Village who had rejected their parents values for a life of sex, drugs, and freedom.  Seemingly unstructured, with an amplified pop/rock score of atmospheric but essentially undramatic music originally played by a small rock band, it was both a plea for understanding from and an attempt to shock "straight" society.  The original production, directed by gerald Freeman, was the inaugural production of Joseph Papp's Public Theater.  Papp sold the rights to Michael Butler, who produced a far more lavish revised and reorchestrated version, directed by Tom O'Horgan, on Broadway and across the world.  Even more popular in London than in New York, it created a rage for rock music (and it's attendant amplification) in the theatre, as well as for other essentially nonnarrative musical depictions of minority segments of society.  One of its most publicized controversies was the use of nudity, unique then in a commercial musical production.

Copyright Cambridge Guides

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