A revival of "Hair" is headed to Broadway next season. The question is: which one? The two contenders are the Encores! concert version, which played City Center last spring, and the Reprise! production, which just completed a brief run this past weekend in Los Angeles.
New York critics cheered the Encores! "Hair," which was directed by Kathleen Marshall and featured a cast of youthful but largely unknown New York performers.
The Reprise! "Hair," directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, also won raves. The Los Angeles Times called it "vibrant," "fervent" and "propulsive."
Its cast featured more seasoned showbiz performers, including Sam Harris, Jennifer Leigh Warren and Steven Weber.
The creators of "Hair" - composer Galt MacDermot and lyricist James Rado - disagree about which production is better.
Rado did not return calls yesterday, but a person close to him says he prefers Seidelman's production.
MacDermot, however, prefers Marshall's version.
"I liked the cast here," he told The Post yesterday. "They were young. There were some singers [in Los Angeles] I loved, but they were quite a bit older. I think the charm of the show here was its youthful energy."
In the Encores! version, the band was on-stage, with MacDermot at the piano.
"That's probably why I liked it the best," he conceded yesterday.
Shuttling between MacDermot and Rado is Barry Weissler, the producer of "Chicago" and "Annie Get Your Gun," who is trying to secure the rights to "Hair."
He did not return a call yesterday, but sources say he hopes to bring Rado and MacDermot together by creating a hybrid version of the two productions.
One scenario being spun out yesterday: Seidelman's production comes to New York, but recast with younger actors, including some who appeared in Marshall's production.
In the meantime, Weissler is planning to re-open Seidelman's "Hair" in Los Angeles.
"I'm on my way to check out a theater," Seidelman said yesterday. "Ours is a fully mounted production, not a reading or a concert version. It is faithful to the spirit of 'Hair,' it's politically connected and, I hope, sexually liberating. I'd love to see it in New York."
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