NY1 Theater Review: "Hair"
The Tony-winning 2009 revival of "Hair" has returned to Broadway for a limited "summer of love" engagement. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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The world is clearly in a different place since the hippies of the Broadway musical "Hair" first bounded into our collective consciousness more than 40 years ago. While there are some parallels -- an unpopular war for example -- the cultural dynamic has changed enough to rob the show of its relevance in many ways. But on at least one level, the entertainment factor, the thrill is back.
It is quite a testament to the artistry of "Hair" that even now, shorn of its cultural significance, it still resonates. That's in large part thanks to its inspired rock score by Galt MacDermot with lyrics by creators Gerome Ragni and James Rado and wonderfully astute direction by Diane Paulus who brilliantly draws the audience into the show's controlled chaos.
The tribe is mostly different from the cast that led the outdoor Shakespeare in the Park production three summers ago and the subsequent Tony-winning Broadway staging. But while I prefer some of the other performers, this group, comprised of the touring company, successfully captures the show's exuberance and infectious abandon.
In the lead roles, Steel Burkhardt turns Berger into a bit of a goofball, but as a rebellious high-schooler his immature antics make perfect sense.
The more sympathetic Claude, played by Paris Remillard, is also impressive and in especially fine voice.
I loved Darius Nichols' Hud, returning, along with Caren Lyn Tackett lending Sheila just the right air of Bohemian intensity.
The turbulence and unrest of the '60s that spawned the peace movement are gone now but this production shows that the essence of "Hair" transcends time and place. On a very basic human level, it celebrates the liberating spirit of individualism. And it does so with great theatricality. That's a "universal," no matter your generation.