Mr. Castelli's theatrical experience began in Europe, where he created Les Ballets Africaines, and produced and directed for the Champs Elysees Theatre and the Marquis de Cuevas Ballet Company. Mr. Castelli was also responsible for the first post-war production of the famed abstract Alben Berg opera "Wozzek". As a playwright, he is the author of "The Umbrella" , a three act play seen in both New York and London, plus numerous other works for both stage and screen, one of which became a vehicle for the late Marilyn Monroe. From this wide, almost classical background, Mr. Castelli puts Hair into a perspective of his own!
The look of the production is very existential...it is the product of a grandchild of Sartre, dressed by Picasso. I feel very much that Mr. Sartre would love this musical...its definite commitment to nothingness. The statement it makes is nowhere, the progression is to nowhere, the questions asked are never answered - but somehow in this very commitment to nothingness, you are left at the end - somewhere.
The play reminds me of the end of World War II.
There was the same spirit then in Paris, particularly among the existential
caveaux and cafes of St. Germaine de Pres. People on the street would
kiss each other, there was a physical exuberance about being alive that
they wanted to express to each other...just as the people in Hair do.
But in all this exuberance you always felt they were really expressing
their despair over the past, lost, four years of war. This musical
reminds me of this period...of despair expressed through symbols of joy.
Mr. O'Horgan is the winner of the 1967 Obie award for best off-Broadway director of the year, as well as the 1968 Brandeis Award for Creative Arts. He has directed "Tom Paine" at Stage 73, and has been most frequently been acclaimed for his direction of outstanding productions at Cafe La Mama. Called by Cue Magazine the "high priest of off-off-Broadway", Mr. O'Horgan was asked what prompted him to direct a Broadway-bound musical.
I took this assignment because I feel Hair is an assault on a theatrical dead area: Broadway. It's almost an effort to give broadway mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If there was an audience for Marat-Sade, for instance, which was also a new direction for the theatre, it shows that there does exist an audience among those who now stay away from Broadway, people who could be attracted by fresh venturesome theatre.
We hope - and think - that Hair will reach out to create a whole new audience for the Broadway theatre. I would say that theatre's greatest hope for coming alive again, and being fully relevant to use all, is to produce the kind of work that would interest people in college today. If we don't, we might as well tear the remaining theaters down, and pave them for parking lots. Musicals today have evolved to this fine, precision-honed formula - something like the way you make a Buick - where they have little music, little singing, shiny, formula dancing, and no life, no immediacy. They go in for stories in fantasy settings, distant from us in time and/or place, and we find the problems of the characters charming - because they have nothing to do with us at all.
To understate: Hair is not like that.
Mr. Fisher's most recent credits include the lighting for "Black Comedy", "You Know I Can't Hear You WHen The Water's Running", and "Scuba-Duba". He discusses his ideas on lighting Hair:
The big thing is the freedom that we have here.
We are not limited by the playwright saying "The sun comes up," or "Candles
are brought into the room". In Hair, the light, its color, drama
and intensity are based on the tempo and temper of the music - and the
emotions of what is happening. We are no more bound by the naturalistic
conventions than is HAir itself. Lights blink, change color, project
up from the floor, down from the ceiling - take on a psychedelic life of
Miss Potts is the principal designer for New York's APA Pheonix Repertory Company. Among her credits are "You Can't Take It With You", "War and Peace", "Pantagleize", and many others. She talks about costuming Hair:
The costumes for this show grew out of what I saw the
actual members of the cast wear themselves. I attended more rehearsals
for this show than any other. And as the rehearsals went on, their
costumes got wilder and wilder. What was necessary was to spot the
direction this wilderness was going to try to see what they will be wearing
six months from now. If we just went down to St. Mark's Place and
bought the clothes in the shops now, we'd be dated by opening night.
Mr. Wagner's designs include the Lincoln Center productions of "Galileo" and "The Condemed of Altona", plus "The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald", "In White America", "A View From The Bridge" and many others. He talks about the problems Hair presented him:
They were very interesting to solve. For instance,
the script calls for a totem pole onstage, but I felt that just as the
play billed itself as an "American Tribal Love Rock Musical", but wasn't
about Indians at all, so should the totem pole not really be an Indian
totem pole either. Instead we made it as contemporary as the play,
building it up out of advertisements, signs and other modern objects which
are the totems and taboos of our society today.
From the First Broadway Program: Miss Arenal, who is married to actor Barry Primus, has choreographed for The Theatre Company of Boston, and for Harvard's Loeb Dance Center. She herself has appeared frequently on television. She talks about the dancing in Hair:
From the LA Program: Julie Arenal was the assistant to Anna Sokolow in the training program of the Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre. She has choreographed several productions for Loeb Theater of Harvard; The Theatre Company of Boston, including Marat/Sade; and Atlanta's Municipal Theatre. She has danced primarily with Anna Sokolow, Sophie Maslow, John Butler, Jack Cole, and Jose Limon. She teaches at the Herbert Berghof Studio and is married to actor Barry Primus. Miss Arenal recently co-directed Hair in Stockholm, and also recreated the London version of the play.
Though the entire company is almost always in some kind
of dance movement, they are actors, not dancers. So the problem was
to find movements they could perform, and teach them to continue to do
it their way, not my way. This is what gives the show the vigorous
feeling of spontaneity and youth. But there is also discipline: they
had to be taught that no matter how they wanted to execute a motion, they
all had to finish at the same time - or they'd be dancing over each other's
LA Musical Director
Danny Hurd has worked as choral director, assistant conductor, orchestrator and rehearsal pianist with the Broadway shows "Nowhere To Go But Up", "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", "Little Me", "henry, Sweet Henry", and "Golden Boy". Mr. Hurd has also been musical director of industrial shows and has written dance arrangements for many television shows.
Danny Hurd likes four letter words like LIFE, LOVE and
HAIR. (The four letter word for Acapulco - Danny was musical director
for the production too - is HELP.)
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