Highly Recommended Standing at the bus stop this evening, I heard a young lady talking on her cell to her dad about the show we had all just experienced at The Ford Center For The Performing Arts,Oriental Theatre,”HAIR”. She was telling her dad that while she enjoyed the energy and some of the music, she didn’t “Get it”!. There was really no plot and it was like watching a “Cirque Musical” without the gymnasts. I felt sorry for this young lady, as she wasn’t truly paying attention to what “Hair” is all about. “Hair”, probably our very first “Rock” musical is about the birth of the change in culture during the late 60’s- to some the “Hippie” movement, to others, the anti war movement”, the “Draft Dodger movement” What “Hair” tells is the story that many of us lived through, the fear of going off to battle for a country we knew nothing about- a time of unrest for young people who were told they had to follow the rules, but all they wanted to do is find out who they were and live their own dreams instead of becoming what their parents failed to be.
The book for “Harir” was written by Gerome Ragni and James Radd with some great music by Galt MacDermot- songs like “Let The Sun Shine In”,”Aquarius”, “Hair” and “Good Morning Starshine” are just some of the marvelous songs that do indeed help to tell the story of these young people who wanted to “Make Love, Not War” and isn’t that a story that we have felt over and over as we do our “big brother” save them all act.This is not a play as this young lady told her dad, but rather a Love-rock musical that teaches us about a time that for many has become a faded memory, but should in fact be treated s a history lesson and hopefully one that will stay in our minds for many years.
This is a revival of a show that was introduced to America back in 1966 ( over 40 years ago) and this revival, winner of the 2009 Tony for “best revival” is a high energy , well cast opportunity for today’s young theater-goers to see the magic of what has become a classic. There are some changes from the original production, but even these cannot influence the power of the music and dance and the high energy that this young cast brings to a piece that hit Broadway well before they were even “twinkles in their parent’s eyes”. Be prepared, there is some language in this one, and some pot ( not real of course) and of course “free love” and nudity! This is not for the little ones, but should be seen by older high school students as during these times, many of them may be experiencing feelings very akin to those felt by the kids in the 60’s.
Directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Karole Armitage on a stage designed by Scott Pask, this is a bright and fast paced production with audience members getting somewhat involved ( at the end, they bring up as many as want to join the actors )on stage doing “Let The Sun Shine In”. Other cast members run and flow through the audience throughout the production. What a dynamic cast. Berger ( a powerful performance by Steel Burkhardt) and Claude ( Paris Remillard is tremendous) are the two main male characters- Sheila ( Caren Lyn Tackett who has one heck of a voice) and Crissy (Kaitlin Liyan) , the main females with a super-duper performance by Dione ( Phyre Hawkins). The rest of the cast, known as the tribe were all great with energy as high as one could ever hope for in a rock musical such as this. The character actors in this one, who handle adults and hippie roles, Josh Lamon and Allison Guinn are scene stealers par excellent and these special scenes alone are worth the price of a ticket. So, young lady at the bus stop, there was a story in this show as well as a lesson. Talk about it with your dad and do yourselves the favor of listening to what the other has to say.
Speaking of the price of a ticket, this show is priced for both young people and seniors in that they are available for as little as $27 ( nowadays, you might pay that for a 3-D movie) and only range to $90 which is low in comparison to Broadway. After all this is Broadway in Chicago, bringing us some of the best touring shows direct from the Big Apple and sometimes with even better productions. “Hair” is here only through March 20th . To check out performance schedule, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or www.theatreinchicago.com
To purchase tickets visit any of the Broadway In Chicago box office locations including the Oriental itself at 24 West Randolph Street, by phone at 1-800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com