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Gerome Ragni and James Rado, the pair responsible for the show os the sixties, Hair, for which they wrote the book and lyrics, are known to the hip community around the world as Jerry (sic) and Jim, and look like they've lived the roles that they created for themselves.
Ragni, whose exploding reddish-brown locks may have started a new world trend, was pre-Hair, basically an actor. He appeared on Broadway in Hamlet with Richard Burton and off-Broadway in Viet Rock, The Knack, and Hang Down Your Head And Die. Off-off Broadway he was one of the early members of the Cafe La mama troupe. he noted recently, "We started writing Hair because we were both actors and we were tired of the kind of plays we were in. The same one-dimensional characters, the conventional entrances and exits. We didn't want to 'act' these plays. We wanted to 'be' on stage."
Rado, whose blond hair is now a year and a half longer than when he first joined forces with Ragni, also now sports a mustache, was also on and off Broadway. On, he was in The Lion In Winter and in Luther. Off he did The Knack, The Infantry, and Hang Down Your Head And Die. He explained about Hair, "We weren't the first who thought of the idea of 'being' on the stage. We used to act and when we'd leave the theater, we'd go back to a scene that had nothing to do with the stage, the kids on the East Side. We wanted to show this on a stage."
Jerry and Jim re-write the show as they feel it at the moment. "We're always adding new things to it" says Ragni, "and we're liable to show up as actors in almost any Hair production in the world." (This is written in their contracts.)
"If we do another play on Broadway," adds Rado, "we want to do it a different way, apart from the traditional way of doing things."
The tradition they have to break may well be their very own, using the phenomenal success of Hair as a barometer.
Now, in the twenty-seven months since revolutionizing the American musical theater, Ragni and Rado, along with Galt MacDermot have proceeded to make Hair a household word internationally. Their creation is currently represented around the world by twelve companies including five in the United States.
The original cast recording of the show has long since become a million seller and , having established a landmark stage and recording event in the 1960's, Ragni, Rado, and MacDermot now stride boldly into the new decade with a unique new album, DisinHAIRited, which presents more music from the creators of the original show featuring past and present members of the cast.
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