Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical Through August 27, days & times vary, $27. The Space, 3460 Cavaretta Court, majesticrepertory.com.
Dare we suggest this be staged in Pyongyang? And at Trump Tower South (aka the White House)? Plus a global tour, kicking off in Charlottesville?
Dream we must, for reality confines the boomeranging social relevance of counterculture artifact Hair to Las Vegas, via Majestic Repertory Theatre’s groovy production. Take a long toke on this (metaphorical or otherwise).
Within the tight space of the Space, director Troy Heard retains the joy juice of this ’60s peace de resistance, even squeezing a little extra to drown the taste of our new, soul-shredding era—for a couple hours, at least. As his hippie-ized cast—all tie-dyed, denim-clad, bandana-wrapped, daisy-carrying, bare-footed, hair-flowered free-lovers—mill around with showgoers before showtime (or has it already begun—far out, man!), singing and cooing (“Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Don’t Bogart That Joint”), this Hair lets its hair down early—and ours, too.
The plot unfolds in song-framed vignettes (the classics: “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “Easy to Be Hard,” the title tune, etc., backed by a live band), yet Hair is a concert treating storylines like exhaling a joint (i.e., not the main event). Sure, there’s main hippie Claude, caught between his shaggy “tribe” of societal nose-thumbers and his harrumphing establishment parents—the latter the LBJ to his LSD—and whether he’ll resist the draft (as his pickup family has) or become ’Nam-bound and betray his pacifist principles (as his bio-clan demands). Minor subplots percolate around it, but that’s not at the roots of Hair.
Collective camaraderie—communicating the group flower-power and committed idealism of these counterculture warriors—is the point of this kaleidoscopic time capsule. While giving definition to the main hippies, Heard transforms this tribe into a single entity: a moving rainbow of singing, dancing, braying, swaying, hugging, sex-seeking, drug-hazed passion. As to how the stage is arranged … there is no stage. Merely floor space we share with these moon babies in an “immersive” production, communing dreamily while traipsing among us, wrapping us in a group hug of nonconformity and resistance to The Man. This, we don’t resist.
Among the cast who shine in highlighted moments, watch for Richie Villafuerte, who lends hippie Berger—a “psychedelic teddy bear”—a touch of the lounge lizard; Katie Marie Jones as fetching activist Sheila; Marcus Carter’s gentle, flamboyant Woof (who hilariously denies being gay while swooning over the fantasy of bedding Mick Jagger) and Bobby Lang’s Claude, whose counter-culture defiance is sadly forced counterclockwise.
Hair’s ’60s relevance to 2017? Make peace and love, not fire and fury.