Time - May 10, 1968

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This musical is a cross between a Dionysian revel and an old-fashioned revival meeting.  The religion that Hair preaches , and often screeches, is flower power, pot and protest.  It's music is pop rock, and it's dialogue is mostly graffiti.  Hair is lavish in dispraise of all things American, except presumably liberty.  The play itself borders on license by presenting a scene in which half a dozen members of the cast, male and female, face the audience in the nude.  The tableau is such a dimly lit still life that it will leave most playgoers open-mouthed with yawns.

A slickly packaged Broadway version of hippiedom, Hair is now in it's third incarnation.  It had a limited run last fall at Joseph Papp's off-Broadway public theater, later surfaced at the discotheque Cheetah.  Compared with this season's crop of moribund Broadway musicals, Hair thrums with vitality.  Nonetheless, it is crippled by being a bookless musical and, like a boneless fish, it drifts when it should swim.  Director Tom O'Horgan lashes up waves of camouflage, but distraction is no substitute for destination.

What holds Hair together is the score, which pulses with an insistent, primitive beat.  With gleeful impertinence, the music by Galt MacDermot and the lyrics of Gerome Ragni and James Rado manage to release the pent up yelps of the sons and daughters of the affluent society.  A song like Ain't Got No ("Ain't got no class,/ Ain't got no mother,/ Ain't got no father,/ Ain't got no culture") telegraphs the credo of the self-proclaimed have-nots of the '60s.  satire with a playful nip makes a treat of an air-pollution ditty ("Welcome sulfer-dioxide,/ Hello carbon-monoxide,/ The air, the air is everywhere.").  The dance numbers are nimble but not always fluent, with the cast sometimes thundering about like a cattle stampede.

Since Hair chooses to stand on an attitude of dissent, mainly about Viet Nam, some of the show's thunder has been stolen by the prospective initiation of peace talks.  It gives the show a split personality - musically fresh but intellectually trite and topically dated.

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