Last night, I had the privilege of attending the closing night for the musical Hair at the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
As with most of the musicals and shows that I go to, I hadn’t seen Hair before. In fact, I didn’t even know anything about the musical before I watched it last night.
“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. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or to succumb to the pressures of his parents (and conservative America) to serve in Vietnam, compromising his pacifistic principles and risking his life.”
I was warned before I went to the show that there would be adult content including nudity, implied drug use, extensive sexual situations and innuendos, and other things of that nature.
The first thing I have to say about my actual experience with this musical last night was that the set and the costumes were very nicely done. When I first walked past the stage, I thought it was fantastic that they had an actual, old-school, Volkswagen bus sitting on the stage. I have no idea how they got the van on stage, but they did and it looked great! The other really neat part about the stage set up was how the set up for the band was done. The band, who was remarkable by the way, was set up right in the center of the stage, but in something of a room with the stage built around them. So you could see the band, but they weren’t in the way of the musical at all. It was a fascinating way of including the musicians as an actual part of the musical. The rest of the set, with the hand-painted protest signs and ladders and levels really made the musical come to life. The same went for the costumes.
I also have to mention how fantastic and brave the actors and actresses were for their performances. It takes a lot of guts to be willing to be nude on stage and I admire them all for that – you are all beautiful people and I hope that someone out there appreciates you for who you are. Also, the musical numbers were fantastic and conveyed all the appropriate emotions.
One of the interesting things to me was the age bracket of the majority of the audience. It really seemed to me as though most of the audience members would have experienced the actual history from this musical first-hand. I felt like one of the younger members of the audience. For them, I am certain this musical was a reminder of times long past, and I wonder how they feel about their past and how the world is now. I know that those Vietnam Veterans have contributed greatly to the current positive view on military personnel today, and how so many realize that it’s possible to support military personnel without having to support the wars they fight.
Overall, this was a very artfully done performance. The sound was well-balanced, the actors and actresses were remarkably talented, the set design was unique and authentic, the costumes were fun and original, and the story was well-told.