They played Hair in Central Park yesterday and from the expressions on the faces of thousands who showed up, they liked it.
The only somber face in the crowd, as the producers of the long-running Broadway hit marked the show's fourth birthday, belonged to Ludwig von Beethoven, whose bust stared stolidly ahead from it's perch facing the park's band shell.
Billed as an international concert, the music - gratis and melodic - was provided by cast members who played in the show the world round. Most of the lyrics were sung in English, but the "doo-bee-doo-bee-doo" from the "Good Morning Starshine" maintained all of it's original effervescence even though it was done in a foreign tongue, proving once more the universality of music.
In sustaining the international flavor of the happening-in-the-park, some of the numbers were done in japanese, hebrew and a smattering of other languages culled from the 22 countries where the show has been done.
Soaring temperatures and sagging beltlines brought into display acres of epidermis as girls and boys, in most instances, wore the bare minimum. For a change, the cast members were wearing more clothes than the audience.
Hot pants, tight-fitting slacks, cowboy hats, gaudy shoes, and a wide assortment of love beads converted the park into a microcosm of the Now Generation. Overhead hundreds of yellow balloons plugged the musical.
Earlier in the day, the park had been the scene of a bike race, a marathon, and an inaugural ceremony for Quiet Week in New York City. This latter observance ended with the first twang of electronic guitars setting in motion the freebie from Broadway.
While all the seats in front of the bandstand filled early for al fresco performance, thousands of late-comers settled for the park's grassy undulations as their "loge" accommodations. Others opted for the "balcony" view afforded by esconcement in tree limbs.
The air was heavy with the sweet fragrance of popcorn and the more pungent aroma of steaming hot dogs. Occasionally, one whiffed the essence of pot in the atmosphere.
The only dissonance noted at the joyful musical outpouring was the reprimand given an unlicensed vendor, who also was given a ticket for his transgression. Almost with insouciance, the vendor pocketed the ticket and turned to sell his cold wares on a hot day.
Within two minutes, he was surrounded by a score of parched patrons and he had earned the price of the summons. With all that "hair" around, what was a little fuzz to this man?
Copyright The New York Daily News.