Let me start my review by telling the theater world how proud I am of the staff of The Paramount Theatre in Aurora for a marvelous first year “Broadway Series”. They chose some of the musical favorites; “My Fair Lady”,”Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “A Chorus line” and to add some spice to the mix, “Hair” ( now playing through April 1st). This one is their adventure , as it is not a show that appeals to all theater audiences as the others are, and for that I give Messrs Rater and Corti a lot of credit. “Hair” with a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot, takes us back to an era that many would like to forget, and yet, in viewing this play for the umpteenth time and hearing the well written lyrics, what was the 60’s still exists, thus the show itself is not “dated” as some might say. Yes, this was an odd time for young people: a time of an unwanted war ( and aren’t they all?), rebellion of parents and teachers, rejection of materialism ( some of that has disappeared), and of the greatest importance, a desire to be who they were, not who they were supposed to be!
“Hair” is called “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”, and for many was and is the “rock musical” that started a new trend in musical theater. Made up of more songs than actual words, it tells a story of the times an din this particular production, under the direction and choreography of Rachel Rockwell with musical direction by Doug Peck, and a young energetic cast, the one true fault I found is the lack of knowledge of what “Hair” meant to thos of us who lived in the times. These are young and confused young people who are tired of being told what to do and that they must conform to what is expected of them by their families, their teachers and society itself. It was a time when drugs were the escape from the demands and “free love” came about. These were confused young people seeking knowledge of who they were, and in this production, this does not come through. We don’t feel the emotion they are feeling and for the most part, we do not care about these ‘lost souls”.
We should want them to find themselves and define their lives and goals as well as the relationships they have with each other, and we just didn”t. As solid a director as Ms Rockwell is ( and I love her work), she should have learned more about the times and worked with this spirited young cast on defining each of the characters, what they were feeling and what they wanted early into the start of the rehearsals. This may have made a difference in the total picture. Now to get on to what is on the stage at The Paramount! A rather large cast with powerful voices handling some very difficult music. From the opening number “Aquarius”, beautifully handled by Bethany Thomas to the Finale, a resounding, hand-clapping “Let The Sun Shine In” by the full cast and all the great stuff in between; “I Believe In Love”, “I Got Life”, “Where Do I Go” ( the final number in the first act where the cast does become fully naked ( the lighting by Jesse Klug and Greg Hoffman, keeps it low and in the shadows) and of course the title song “Hair” as done by Skyler Adams (Claude) and Adrian Aguilar (Berger) with the tribe- some real magic on the stage.
In the second act, there is a big drug sequence with Claude hallucinating and it appears that Ms Rockwell has added some clever little bits to the original for some comic touches and again, this energetic and spirited ensemble keeps pace with the tempo of the story and music, despite not having the full feeling of what was happening during this period of time. Manny of these cast members are young people who have graced the smaller theaters in town and it was wonderful to see them in a large production such as this.Now that they are exposed to the larger venues, I am sure they will do more of these productions, but hope they will not forget their roots.
“Hair” will continue at The Paramount Theatre, located at 8 East Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora until April 1st with performances as follows:
Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.,Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 and 5 p.m.
Tickets range from $34.90-$46.90 ( a solid value for theater of this quality) and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at (630)896-6666 or online at www.ParamountAurora.com.
Aurora is not as far from the city as one might think and if you some early, with this weather, who wouldn’t, you can walk around and find some great little spots for a bite to eat, or if you are up for it, the Casino is just across the street. Valet parking is available and being out of the big city, concessions are much more affordable as well.
Next year’s seaon has been announced-
“Grease” September 12th-30th,”Annie” November 21st -December 30th ( this beats all the “holiday shows”), “The Music Man” January 16th-February 3rd and to close the 2012/2013 season, “Fiddler on The Roof” March 6th-24th. You might want to see about getting a subscription which will guarantee you your seats and save you some money.Visit www.ParamounAurora.com and enjoy!