Pages from Michael Butler's Journal


When HAIR was being produced, the theater community was not exactly clued into the hippie movement. In fact the first director of HAIR was more in touch with the "beat" philosophy than the "hippie" ethos.

When we tried to cast additional "tribes" (we called our companies "tribes") we were really concentrating on voices, movement, and acting in that order. We wanted these talents in people who were comfortable in the lifestyle of hippies, not just playing a role.

Not suprisingly, we ran into some real problems when we followed the normal Broadway casting methods. We resorted to every approach we could think of. All of us in the production team started to look anywhere we could. This led to some famous incidents of our going up to people in the streets, inviting them to audition. Needless to say this led to hilarious stories of some of the reactions of those we accosted. Jerry Ragni, on of the authors, brought in one chap. I had to convince him we weren't trying to pick him up.

In Chicago, we resorted to newspaper ads. The lines of auditionees were four blocks long. We saw more than 2000 aspiring talents. In San Francisco, entire communes came to audition.

Fred Rheinglass, the Production Stage Manager, accompanied by me and Peter Yarrow, went to the mountains of Truces, near Sante Fe, to audition Wavey Gravey and the Hog Farm. There, I had my first experience with the Father of all psychedelics, peyote. But that is another story.

On to "Casting Hair in New Mexico"

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