Theater ends season with musical Hair
by JOHN BRANDENBURG, m.newsok.com
May 16th 2011
A revival of “Hair” that has some of the infectious spirit of a revival meeting for “sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll” rather than the old-time religion is being staged by Reduxion Theatre Company.
The vintage vehicle was more a medley of sometimes forgettable and sometimes memorable anthemlike and iconic songs and comedy bits than it was a conventional musical comedy or a play. But it played remarkably well, and earned a standing ovation, and the active participation of some ticketholders, on opening night.
“Hair” is performed in-the-round with great gusto on a bare wooden plank stage and raised platform by a 14-member cast clad in classic “hippie” attire: beads, bandannas, leather, the flag and patched or tie-dyed fabrics.
Set in 1967 in New York City, the Reduxion production was more the collective ritual of a “tribe” of rebellious young people than it was a star vehicle, but there were some outstanding individual performances.
Nick Orfanella had the right merry, mischievous energy and self-absorption as Berger, leading the hippie tribe in such mocking, satiric songs as “Donna” and “Going Down.” Rousing in such numbers as “I Got Life,” Charlie Monnot got across the bravado and conflicts of Claude, who protests serving in the Vietnam War and ultimately becomes its sacrificial victim.
Orfanella and Monnot also teamed to lead the tribe in the musical's title song, an irresistible musical celebration of hair, and especially long hair, almost for its own sake, as a kind of life force. Leavell Javon Johnson brought a powerful stage presence and a good voice to his role as Hud, celebrating black pride in no uncertain terms in such songs as “Colored Spade” and “I'm Black.”
Cristela Carrizales was robust and ribald as Dionne, leading the cast in the haunting early number “Aquarius,” while Rachel Bouton, as Sheila, beautifully expressed the downside of free love in “Easy to Be Hard.”
Original Page: http://m.newsok.com/theater-ends-season-with-musical-hair./article/3568555
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