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You remember the revolutionary rock musical Hair written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado out of their street life. They spread the frustrations of youth on stage and expected an instant new life style for all. And the songs, "Aquarius", "I Got Life", "Good Morning Starshine" - somehow Jimmy Rado's lyrics let the sunshine in.
Now Rado has written music and lyrics on his own to a Hair sequel he calls Rainbow. He has also co-authored the book with his brother, Ted. The Viet was veteran Jim played in Hair comes home to confront the president.
And once again the songs and lyrics are musical and marvelous, another "Star Song", a "Somewhere Under The Rainbow", and a "Mama Loves You". And Rado has used all the idioms: rock, gospel, jazz and blues.
"At the last count, there are 42 songs," says Jimmy. "But the show is fluid. It's so joyful and crammed with life. Sometimes when I watch, I'm embarrassed, because it is an up musical, idealistic, maybe naive. Where else can you see a rainbow and rainbeams?"
Jimmy Rado turned 40 on Tuesday. He is a sweet, shy man, and the back of his head is a bald pate shaped like a yarmulke and surrounded by long, whispy blond hair. Although he has invested $100,000 of his own money in Rainbow he must still be a millionaire, a fact he fails to find important.
"No, my lifestyle hasn't changed that much. I live in the hinterland, that is, Hoboken, where you can look across at the Manhattan skyline, where you don't want to live. I have a car now, a Volkswagen bus. I'm involved in the theater and i consider myself an actor."
According to brother Ted, 37, the more practical man, Jim always wanted to be an actor. Ted never knew exactly what he did want. He became the director companies for Michael Butler, after the show became a national institution.
The Rado brothers' father, Alex Radomski, was a professor at the University of Rochester when they were born. They grew up in Washington, D.C., where he is now a sociologist.
The juke box at the Orchidia (Italian cuisine) was blaring "This is the Age of Aquarius" and across Second Avenue at the Orpheum Rainbow was lighting up a frigid dusk. Jimmy had signed the payroll, responded to director Joe Donovan's questions and learned Marie Santell, who belly dances "Oh, Oh, Oh," was unhappy with her out front photos.
"One of the things I like about putting on the show is giving work to actors. Most of our cast is from the 10 companies of Hair we've had touring the country. Greg Karliss plays Man, my role, and he joined us from a parking lot in Los Angeles."
Jimmy seems reluctant to admit that street life in the '70s has lost the gusto of the '60s, the naiveté and the innocence, and has assumed a brutality he never acknowledges in Rainbow.
"In the early '60s, Gerry and I were actors around the theater. But what we observed in the streets we put into Hair. In those days what was happening in the streets was more exciting than anything being put on stage.
"Almost every event in Hair was observed in the streets. And I've always written music and lyrics or poetry. Even when I was acting In "Lion In Winter" with Rosemary Harris on Broadway, I was writing songs in my dressing room.
"Look, I'm grateful to Joe Papp, with first put the show on, and to Michael Butler, for Broadway, and Tom O'Horgan who felt so close to the material. We had plenty of imitators, but we succeeded."
With Rainbow, Jim says he started, as in Hair, with a great bulk of material, with various connecting themes. His songs "Questions, Questions" and "Give Your Heart To Jesus" were strung on the book he and Ted wrote as collaborators.
"I just hope," says Ted, "Rainbow catches on. Our life with Hair was like the Beatles. The groupies followed us from city to city. And we liberated a whole generation of kids, some positive, some negative."
A Rainbow for the '70s?