Hair's Broadway cast London-bound
17 November 2009
The Broadway production of flower power musical Hair is transferring
to London next year, producers have announced.
It will become the first New York production to move its entire cast
to the West End when it opens at the Gielgud Theatre on 14 April.
The show, which was first staged in London more than 40 years ago,
ran for almost 2,000 performances.
It was only brought to a halt by the collapse of the Shaftesbury
Theatre's ceiling in 1973.
The musical famously opened one day after the abolition of theatre
censorship in the UK in September 1968.
Previously, its scenes of nudity and drug-taking, along with
blasphemous and sexually explicit language, would have fallen foul of
the Lord Chamberlain's office - which licenced all stage productions.
The current Broadway revival started its run last summer, and has
been extended three times.
Artistic director of The New York Public Theater, Oskar Eustis said:
"To bring the Public's production of Hair back to London in 2010
means more to me than I can say."
Theatrical impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh said: "Little did I
think when I was the production runner on the original production of
Hair that 41 years later I would be bringing the Public Theater's
acclaimed new production back to London."
He added that the anti-Vietnam war sentiments of the original show
were now "morphed into the world's concern at what's happening in
Hair was briefly revived on the London stage in 1993 and 2005, the
latter production starring John Barrowman.
The Broadway cast will be replaced in March ahead of its transfer to
the West End.
The move is expected to allow more British stage performers to appear
in New York theatre productions.
UA's theatre department showcases Vietnam-era musical
By Whitney Hobson Special to Tusk
Published: Friday, October 23, 2009
The Age of Aquarius dawned 40 years ago, but the University's
production of 'Hair' somehow makes the dated play seem brand new.
The director of the play, Guy Fauchon, a third-year graduate
directing student, said he was trying to capture a more organic,
'tribal' feeling where the Tribe - the cast of counterculture hippies
- really owns the show.
'There are moments in the show that will change every night,' Fauchon
said. 'There are some parts with no set choreography, different
people, and I said, 'Do whatever you want.''
He describes the show as being not safe at all. In the tradition of
protest plays, it constantly pokes fun of the established
institutions and beliefs that were dominant in the 1960s. It leads
the audience onto an emotional rollercoaster, as the Tribe suffers
from breakups, pregancies and the draft.
The Vietnam War takes center stage for the second act. It was a
challenge for Fauchon to make his actors understand the historical
significance of the play, written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado in
the time period of 1964 to 1967.
'It's about getting the kids to appreciate what kids their age went
through,' Fauchon said. 'To bring the realities of the 1968-1969
draft to this young cast, we did a lot of exercises.'
Fauchon is also not playing it safe in that in one of the play's
protest scenes, a few members of the Tribe use nudity as a way of
expressing their freedom.
'The important thing about nudity it's in the play,' Fauchon said.
'The writers thought it was important enough to be in the play. It's
part of the hippie culture, part of peace and love. It's not
gratuitous; it's a protest, a proclamation of freedom.'
For Raphael Crystal, the UA theatre and dance department's director
of musical track, this is a unique experience.
'I was happy to do it because it's one of those shows you want to
have the experience of doing,' Crystal said. It's a revolutionary
musical, Crystal said, because it was more about a group of people,
rather than focusing on individuals. He also said that it signaled a
change for musical theater.
'It was a time in the beginning of the '60s when not only was the
country changing it's the Vietnam War, it's all the Civil Rights
movements, the hippies, the sexual revolution,' Crystal said.
'Musical theater was also changing, people were trying to find a new
way to do things it comes at a certain moment in American and
Crystal hopes that people who see the show will be able to view it as
one complete work.
'The thing that most interests me is there are these long stretches
of music leading into music, so it's like one composition,' Crystal
said. 'So, hopefully, people will experience it as one complete thing
and not as separate songs.'
Fauchon is planning on incorporating audience interaction as much as
possible, so be prepared to indulge your inner hippie by doing a
little dancing with the cast on stage after the show.
Although tickets have been sold out for more than a month, you can
get on waiting lists by calling the UA theater and dance box office
at 205-348-3400. You can also try Facebook marketplace for students
trying to sell their tickets.
What: Counterculture musical theater
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday through Oct. 31, with 2 p.m. matinees Oct. 31-Nov. 1
Where: Allen Bales Theatre
How much: $10; they're sold out, but standby seats may become available.
More: 205-348-3400. www.crimsonartstickets.com.