One of the most unpopular wars, Vietnam, created one of the most popular musicals to be produced across America. “Hair, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” first appeared on stage in 1967 in New York City. On Tuesday night the play opened at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, in conjunction with the Broadway Series of the Theater League of Kansas City.
This musical from the book and with lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado is the story of a young man facing his fears, facing love, the war and the reality of life in the 1960’s. The music was written by Galt MacDermot and the choreography by Karol Armitage.
Music, adult themes, adult language, nostalgia, and nudity this play has everything you could want from an evening’s entertainment. Parental discretion is advised as one woman was overheard telling her husband the program was too mature for the two young daughters they had brought with them.
The musical stirred the memories of those that lived during the Vietnam Era and possibly introduced those too young to remember to a period of love, hate, flower children, marijuana and LSD. From the opening number, Aquarius sung by Dionne (played by Danyel Fulton) and the Tribe to Berger (played by Brian Crawford Scott) stripping off his pants, revealing a bare backside, the audience was in for a classic that would leave them grasping for a bit of reality.
The show was performed flawlessly with each character adding to the complexity of the musical, which at times took to the aisles engulfing the audience in song and dance. Whether it was Berger singing Donna or Claude (played by Noah Plomgren) singing Manchester, England or the entire cast joining in song, the voice of each cast member lent its own uniqueness to the performance.
Mary Kate Morrissey, who played Sheila, proved to have one of the most beautiful and strongest voices of the night. When she sang Good Morning Starshine or Don’t Put It Down it was a pure delight to the ears.
Politically incorrect by today’s standards the shows references to race, love and drugs was symbolic of the Vietnam Era. The one nude scene (not including the mooning of the audience by Berger) was tastefully done with low lighting and the briefness it which it was on the stage. If anyone is easily embarrassed or insulted this isn’t the show they should see, but if you want to take a trip through time “Hair” is the way to go.
“Hair” continues through Feb. 10.