Hippies Hit Chicago with Hair
If you have ever wanted to experience live hippieness up close and personal, and were either too young or too scared Back In The Day, then you will want to read further. Because for two weeks only starting March 8, the national touring production of Hair will be coming to the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre. You won't want to miss this; the last time there were this many hippies in Chicago, Grant Park was destroyed.
This national tour of Hair comes straight from Broadway, where it won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, as well as Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle awards for Outstanding Revival of a Musical. In addition, it was nominated for seven other Tony Awards and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Recent cast members from the Broadway production who will be on tour include Steel Berkhardt as Berger, Matt DeAngelis as Woof, Kaitlin Kiyan as Crissy, Darius Nichols as Hud, Paris Remillard as Claude, Kacie Sheik as Jeanie, Nicholas Belton, Larkin Bogan, Allison Guinn, Josh Lamon, John Moauro, Kate Rockwell, Cailan Rose, Jen Sese, Lawrence Stallings, and Lee Zarrett. It also features the full Broadway production team of director Diane Paulus, choreographer Karole Armitage, scenic designer Scott Pask, costume designer Michael McDonald, lighting designer Kevin Adams, and sound design by Acme Sound Design.
Hair first opened Off-Broadway in October 1967 at the Public Theater. Featuring music by Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, the show was a considerable hit, and transferred to Broadway in April 1968 where it ran for 1,750 performances. Other productions soon popped up around the United States and Europe, and the original Broadway score, featuring the hit songs "Aquarius" and "Let The Sun Shine In", became a platinum-selling soundtrack.
The original production of Hair was very controversial for its anti-war subject matter, use of profanity and, most specifically, the full onstage nudity of the entire cast for a brief portion of the show. Reportedly, even a few of the actors were initially less than comfortable baring themselves on a Broadway stage, and the producers eventually offered each of them $1.50 more per show if they would go through with it. (Insert joke here about supposedly anti-materialist hippies taking more money to get naked.) Audiences more accustomed to such things today may find it less shocking than they did in 1968. Nevertheless, the mature subject matter remains, and parents are thus advised to use their own best judgement.
Hair runs March 8-20, 2011 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices or at ticketmaster.com.
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