The Musical HAIR 50th Anniversary: 1967 Off-Broadway & 1968 Broadway by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino
Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical celebrates its 50th anniversary since its Off-Broadway debut in 1967; Broadway debut 1968. The rock musical book and lyrics was written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni with music by Galt MacDermot.
Melba Moore “Dionne”, original cast member of HAIR. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.
After Hair’s Off-Broadway debut in October 17, 1967 at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre in New York, and a subsequent run at the Cheetah nightclub in New York from December 1967 through January 1968, the show opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29, 1968. The production was directed by Tom O’Horgan and choreographed by Julie Arenal, with set design by Robin Wagner, costume design by Nancy Potts, and lighting design by Jules Fisher. Despite its great success, the musical became embroiled in a lawsuit due to the eligibility date for consideration for the 1968 Tony Awards. A year later, at the 1969 Tony Awards, Hair was nominated for Best Musical and Best Director but lost out to 1776 in both categories. The production ran for four years and 1,750 performances, closing on July 1, 1972. In 1968, productions began in cities across the United States and Europe followed shortly thereafter, including a successful London production opening September 27, 1968. In 1979, a feature film adaptation was released. A Broadway revival opened in 2009, earning strong reviews and winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
The original Broadway “tribe” (i.e., cast) included authors Rado and Ragni, who played the lead roles of Claude and Berger, respectively, and Lynn Kellogg as Sheila, Lamont Washington as Hud, Sally Eaton and Shelley Plimpton reprising their off-Broadway roles as Jeanie and Crissy, Melba Moore as Dionne, Steve Curry as Woof, Ronnie Dyson (who sang “Aquarius”), Paul Jabara, and Diane Keaton (both Moore and Keaton later played Sheila). Among the performers who appeared in Hair during its original Broadway run were Ben Vereen, Keith Carradine, Barry McGuire, Ted Lange, Meat Loaf, Kenny W. Seymour (of Little Anthony and The Imperials), Mary Seymour (of the group Musique), Joe Butler (of the Lovin’ Spoonful), Peppy Castro (of the Blues Magoos), Robin McNamara, Heather MacRae (daughter of Gordon MacRae and Sheila MacRae), Eddie Rambeau, Vicki Sue Robinson, Beverly Bremers, and Kim Milford.
The first recording of Hair was made in 1967 featuring the Off-Broadway cast. The original Broadway Cast Album was recorded on May 6, 1968 for the RCA Victor label. It received a Grammy Award for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album; Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, and James Rado composers; Andy Wiswell, producer. It sold nearly 3 million copies in the US charting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list producing some of the greatest songs of a generation.
Hair tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. A product of the hippie counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The cast was racially integrated; drugs, sex, the nude scene, and irreverence for the American flag all caused controversy. It was unique by inviting the audience onstage for a “Be-In” finale. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of “rock musical.”
Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. If you wish to book photography services, receive information, and/or license images for commercial and/or promotional use please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com
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