Hair, that tribal love-rock psychedelic hippie musical has exploded on broadway with the grooviest anti-establishment sit-in demonstration anywhere in town. And, bu the looks of things, it's going to be around a long time.
Some changes have been made since its original off-Broadway East Village (where Broadway is a dirty word) production. But the energetic thrust, the essential gestalt is much the same. Galt MacDermot has added some new songs to his already fine score, while co-authors and lyricists (and feature players) Gerome Ragni and James Rado have wisely trimmed some of the weak, adolescent nonsense out of the book. What they have added is more topicality - and more explicit language.
For some curious reason, people have been asking me if i was shocked by Hair. The answer is no. Nor should you be, unless you've just emerged from a convent; or have restricted your education to the approved Board of Education reading lists. As for the celebrated nude scene, pshaw! Just a handful of kids standing in their skins for about ten seconds in near-darkness. I suspect half the audience barely realized that THIS was IT, before IT was over.
On the whole, Tom O'Horgan's direction works very well, in that he's allowed his talented players to be freely expressive. I thought, however, that gerald Freeman who directed the original production, extracted considerably more humor from some of the dialog than Mr. O'Horgan does. In addition to the co-authors - Ragni and Rado - who are very good, I like Lynn Kellogg, Sally Eaton and Shelley Plimpton, the latter two holdovers from off-Broadway. And there's a kid - I think his name is Ronald Dyson - who has an excellent voice.
The band arrangements - by MacDermot - are great, by the way, but I did wish the amplifies instruments didn't drown out the singers as often as they did. It's a minor complaint, however. Hair delivers its irreverence (towards society and hippies) loud and clear. And it's marvelous, joyous fun.