HAIR puts rock music and the culture that went with it on stage. The show has a strong effect on everyone and acts as a bridge between generations and viewpoints. What looks like incredible chaos is actually organized chaos. Phenomenal musical numbers include Aquarius, Good Morning Starshine, I Believe in Love, Hair, I Got Life, What a Piece of Work Is Man and Hippie Life. This show has a vitality, a timelessness and a meaning that outlives the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in America.
“…be free, no guilt, be whoever you are, do whatever you want, just as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” This Utopian philosophy incorporates many concepts which supply lyrics for a show comprised almost exclusively of rock musical numbers.
In the age of Aquarius, a time of harmony and understanding, sex-Sodomy and drugs-Hashish are used as vehicles to evade reality and the establishment. Skin colors are insignificant-Colored Spade and I’m Black. Imagination-Manchester, England lends beauty to a dreary existence-Dead End. The spirit of communal living finds its expressions in yearnings-Ain’t Got No, affection-I Believe in Love, common needs-Ain’t Got No Grass, awareness-Air and a desire to partake-I Got Life.
George Berger sets the mood in a song about his recent banishment from high school-Goin’ Down. He mocks the educational hierarchy, and is obviously delighted to be dismissed. Berger feels persecuted by society as he learns of the draft notice received by his friend, Claude. Claude, whose only valuable possession, other than his freedom, is his Hair, tells of its joys. “Give me a head of hair, long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen…let it fly in the breeze…I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy…”
Sheila, a protester from NYU who lives with Berger and Claude, aspires to spread love. In an effort to please, Sheila buys Berger a yellow satin shirt which he spurns. She feels rejected-Easy to Be Hard.
As the flower children are leaving to attend a Be-in, one girl, Crissy, alone in her thoughts, sings of a boy she once met and of her longings to meet him again-Frank Mills.
At the Be-In, the boys burn their draft cards, exhibiting devotion to peace – Be-In “Hara Krishna“. Claude puts his card into the fire, changes his mind and removes it. He has ambivalent feelings about escaping the draft-Where Do I Go.
Following a group ritual, Claude arrives dressed as a gorilla. He fantasizes ways to avoid being inducted. The kids recognize there is no escape and to ease the immediate tensions, Berger passes ‘joints’ to all.
During a drug induced hallucination-Walking in Space, Claude visualizes George Washington retreating, Indians shooting white men, famous American characters being attacked by African Witch Doctors, Abraham Lincoln patronizing toward the slaves, followed by mass murders. After the violence, Claude sees his Mom, Dad and a Sergeant beaming with pride due to his enrollment in the Army. They fade from view, replaced by the flower children who turn into horrible monsters and start killing one another; directing their aggressive actions towards Claude-Three-Five-Zero-Zero. Two of the group, observing this scene of destruction, express their feelings about mankind in What a Piece of Work Is Man.
Claude realizes that once he is inducted into the Army, he will not be able to enjoy all of life’s simple pleasures-Good Morning Starshine and The Bed. He sees life in the streets offers no more fulfillment than life in the establishment. The stripping away of his freedom leaves him a feeling of doom-Ain’t Got No (Reprise). Later, Claude dressed in a military uniform, enters the sanctum of the kids, but they are unable to see him-Eyes, Look Your Last. Ultimately, Claude lies in his uniform on a black cloth in center stage-The Flesh Failures (Let the Sun Shine In). The show ends on an upbeat note, sustaining its joyous mood with the full company in Hippie Life.
As a social commentary of our times, HAIR provides an insight into the philosophy of the flower children of the 1960’s. As the first and most successful of the rock musicals, HAIR provides a new element in musical theatre entertainment.
Book and Lyrics by Music by
Gerome Ragni & James Rado Galt MacDermot
Produced for the Broadway stage by Michael Butler
Originally Produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre
The foregoing credits shall be displayed immediately below the title in size no less than sixty percent (60%) of the height of the title (or largest billing) and equal in width, style, shape, color, boldness and prominence. No person other than star(s) above the title shall have a larger billing, and no one other than the director shall have equal billing. In the programs the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.
The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:
is presented by arrangement with
MusicScope & Stage Musicals Ltd. of New York
1 Baritone Saxophone (Flute, Piccolo & Clarinet)
1 Trumpet I
1 Trumpet II
1 Trumpet III (optional)
1 Trombone (optional)
1 Bass (electric)
1 Drums (trap drum set)
Indian Drums (optional)
Quica (Lion’s roar)
Tower Clock Chime (sfx)
2 Guitars I & II
I: acoustic & electric
II: electric & bass
1 Piano (Electric Piano or Synthesizer)
Piano-Conductor’s score sent with rehearsal material.
In place of an Overture the lead guitarist improvises “Outer Space Flying Saucer Pyramid” music, in the style of Jimi Hendrix. During this music, a stage ritual is performed which evolves directly into the opening musical number, “Aquarius.”
(The Piano part includes music for Organ and Sitar)
(5 female; 7 male)
Other Members of the Tribe
… who play the following characters in the course of the show:
3 Moms, 3 Dads, 3 High School Principals, 2 Policemen,
Electric Blues Quartet (Oldsters),
White Girls Trio,
Black Boys Trio,
“The Supremes” Trio,
Army Sergeant, Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Calvin Coolidge, Clark Gable,
Scarlett O’Hara, Aretha Franklin, Colonel Custer, Shoeshine Boy,
3 Buddhist Monks, 1 Thousand-Year-Old Monk, 3 Catholic Nuns,
3 Astronauts, 3 Chinese, 3 Guerillas, 1 Native American Indian
The original Broadway production had a cast of 23 performers, including chorus. Doubling was employed as indicated above.
When HAIR moved to the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway after 144 Off-Broadway performances at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, it played for 1,750 performances starring James Rado, Gerome Ragni, Lynn Kellogg, and Sally Eaton. It was revived on Broadway in 1977 at the Biltmore Theatre starring Randall Easterbrook, Michael Holt, Ellen Foley and Iris Rosenkrantz. In 2009, it returned to Broadway and played for 519 performances at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre starring Gavin Creel, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy and Megan Lawrence.
The Drama Desk Award for Music
The Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical
The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical