With the war in Vietnam gripping the United States, anti-war sentiment was all around to see and this penetrated various forms of popular culture. For musical theatre, this was no different and in 1968 a musical opened that looked at the effects of the war on those who fought against it, proving to be a powerful and popular production in the process.
The musical was “Hair”, which emerged on a Broadway stage in 1968 to great success following its tenure at an off-Broadway venue the year before. Its timing was perfect as it tapped into the era of protest as hippies across American and the world took their rallies to the street and rebelled against the state, all the time promoting peace, love and freedom.
Hair had featured a great cast during its first run, including Ronnie Dyson, Ben Vereen and Diane Keaton and when the show finally made its way to the West End, we had a cast to match on these shores as well. The London show found its home at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Elaine Paige starred alongside the future brains behind “The Rocky Horror” show Tim Curry and Richard O’Brien. By the time the UK production closed its doors in 1973 it had surpassed the Broadway version by a whole year.
But the popularity was not to be felt across the decades. “Hair” was perfect at a time when the politics of war divided a nation, but during times of relative peace audiences did not flock to see a show that showcased the plight of those opposed to such notions. It meant that in the decades since, numerous productions have tried and failed to make their mark and it was not until recently that “Hair” found a brand new audience.
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nations are divided once again and it offers the perfect opportunity to update the classic story to fit in with the current climate. The current production opened on Broadway in March 2009 and soon made headlines as it tapped into the same consciousness as before. As a result, “Hair” is about to make a triumphant return to London, with the creative team (including the cast) behind the New York show relocating to our capital and providing brilliant entertainment.
“Hair” tells the story of a tribe of hippies and amongst them Claude, who has just learned that he is to be drafted to fight overseas. As a hippy with strong values this creates a moral dilemma for him and he must decide which set of values are worth fighting for the most.
Along the way, iconic songs find pride of place, including “Aquarius”, “Good Morning Starshine” and “I Believe in Love”.
Hair is at the Gielgud Theatre from Wednesday 14th April 2010 (following previews from Thursday 1st April 2010).
|Booking From:||Thursday, 1st April 2010|
|Booking Until:||Saturday, 4th September 2010|
|Matinees:||Thursday and Saturday at 3pm|
|Evenings:||Monday to Saturday at 8pm|
|Running Time:||2 hours 25 minutes|
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