Hair at Paramount Theatre

Book & Lyrics by Gerome RagniHair at Paramount Theatre

and James Rado

Music by Galt MacDermot

Directed & Choreographed by

Rachel Rockwell

Music Direction by Doug Peck

At Paramount Theatre. Aurora

Dated Hair has lost its sizzle

Somehow director Rachel Rockwell’s current production of Hair has lost something – maybe her take on the ’68-’69 protest musical was too campy – too much like parody because it never comes off as more than a group of ’60’s dressed folks playing hippies. I never believed that the group was real, that they were indeed flower children. This lack of honesty or truth come through from the start. Maybe I’ve just seen Hair too many times or maybe the cast and the director just didn’t capture the spirit of the ’60’s?

Hair at Paramount Theatre

I think the overly manic movements – the jumping around and the frantic dancing contributed to the fake performances. I never bought the over-selling of the early bits and situations as it seemed that the group of, mostly talented performers, were trying too hard to convince us that they were hippies. Too much smooth in-sic movements gave the show a rehearsed quality that reeked fake. I never felt that the group was more than an ensemble  onstage to perform their tunes. The leads, Adrian Aguilar (Berger) and Skyler Adams (Claude) played their characters more like cartoon parodies than dedicated youths revolting from society.

Hair at Paramount Theatre

Since I have a long history with Hair that includes its ’68/’69 run in Chicago and  last year’s terrifically honest and sincere National Tour of Hair, this current production comes off as bland, forced and campy. It just didn’t ring true for me.

Hair at Paramount Theatre

I must say that most of the musical numbers and dances were nicely performed and staged. Most of the opening night audience seemed to either enjoy the production or they left at the intermission. Most stayed and enthusiastically liked the cast.  I think that Hair needs to be directed by those who were around during those turbulent times or someone must get the young cast members to understand exactly the motivations of the draft protesting kids. Terrific tunes like “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine In” seemed to lack the necessary emotional edge. Maybe its time to let Hair rest?  At a top ticket price of only $46.90, Paramount Theatre offers a value of an Equity infused cast that is long on energy.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: March 16, 2012

For more info checkout the Hair page at theatreinchicago.com

At Paramount Theatre in Aurora, for more info www.paramountarts.com, tickets $46.90, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through April 1, 2012