HAIR Review

8 11 2010

As my current Facebook status says, “I spent my Sunday evening in a room with a bunch of wild, free-spirited, horny and naked people. If you guessed an orgy, you were close. It was the musical, Hair at the Kennedy Center.” But did I have a good time? You might think so, what with plenty of good looking naked men, fun, rock music, and colorful Hippie costumes (all things I am a fan of). Unfortunately, the show was rather disappointing.

Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in the 1960’s and the Hippies of that time period. When I first got turned on to the show, “Hair,” it really stuck with me. I got the piano sheet music to play the music at home, myself. I also got the original London cast soundtrack recording and the movie on DVD. This ensured I could pretty much submerge myself in all things, “Hair.” The only thing I was missing was that I had not seen the live musical production…until last night.

Since I was familiar with the movie version, I was expecting the play to be the same. However, it was not. I was not aware that the plot I was so familiar with from the movie, was pretty much non-existant in the play form. I kept expecting the same storyline and characters (and character development) which I never got. If you are not familiar with the movie before first seeing the live show, you probably won’t be as disappointed as I was. The play, however, is pretty much void of any plot. It is a circus of free love, song, and movement (not so much dance, however). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since we know that Hippies were anti-establishment and being a musical without a story, is a pretty rebellious move.

Moving on from the issue that this show is plot-less, it was also pretty life-less; or at least was the show I went to last night. I was shocked that the cast and musicians played the show pretty flatly. “Hair” is supposed to be a lively and fun show with a lot of energy. We got dull, tired, and drab Hair. I don’t really care if the cast/crew had already done a show or two earlier that day. Part of the job of being a professional performer, is to bring your “A game” every time. No excuses. Play like a champion. Ever since the first song, I felt a total lack of energy and emotion. If the cast was going for an all-over non-chanlant attitude due to really tapping into their mellow, marijuana-induced state of mind, then perhaps they went too far, bypassing the excitement needed for a show such as this one. I don’t care if a second cast has to be used to ensure the actors are well rested and have enough energy to put on a great show.

But, hopefully if you end up going, you will be able to go to an earlier show, or a day where multiple shows are not happening on the same day.

Speaking of dull performances, the play’s production of one of my favorite songs, “Easy To Be Hard” was pretty unmemorable last night. If you compare it to the movie version which is chock-full of emotion and a fabulous, soulful singer, the current production looks like it just kind of sticks the song in as an afterthought. Below is the movie version. I guess nothing can come close to that performance:

Aside from the negative points in the show, there was a definite highlight of the show. I don’t know about you all, but if I’m at a show with a good-looking cast, I will usually hone in on the actor I am most attracted to and pretty much keep my eyes on them for the majority of the show. In this production of, “Hair,” I had a few good men to choose from. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but my flavor of choice in this production was Hud, the main Black character otherwise known as the President of the United States of Love. One of his main positive draws was his awesome, rockin’ afro. (You know how I so love ‘fros.) Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

For a better view of him in action, check out the following video. (Hud’s the guy on the left in the fringe.)

Another highlight from the show, actually didn’t have to do with the show much. In part of the show last night, the characters show us their rebellious spirit with a plethora of anti-war and pro-peace and love picket signs:

It’s not the signs that I necessarily loved, but rather, it was the fact that I for real deal spotted these same signs at the John Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I kid you not. I definitely saw a number of these signs at the rally and thought it was pretty nifty that I recognized the signs in the show. Were the actual actors at the rally and I just didn’t know it? So cool.

One last thing is that this show of, “Hair” reminded me at times of another show I saw in the exact same theater at the Kennedy Center. Both Spring Awakening and “Hair” involve a lot of having sex and sexual movements on the stage. Honestly, it must be pretty interesting to imagine where that stage has been. Both musicals are pretty scandalous, controversial, sexual, and fun.

Well, I think that’s it for my review for now. I’m going to go home and listen to the soundtrack some more. Peace!

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