and James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
Directed & Choreographed by
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?
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.
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.
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.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: March 16, 2012
For more info checkout the Hair page at theatreinchicago.com