HAiR – The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

HAiR – The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. Books and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado.  Music by Galt MacDermot. Directed by Jonathan Rosen. Landmark Musical Theatre and the ‘Uli Tribe of San Francisco, Great Star Theatre, 636 Jackson Street, San Francisco CA.

What better show to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love than HAiR, which coincidentally is 50 years old as well. One of the first rock musicals on Broadway, the show mirrored the tempestuous times of the hippie counterculture, Vietnam protests, and free love. Revolutionary in its day, today the show may seem comically anachronistic to today’s millennials. To modern audiences born way after the 60’s and far removed from the shows earnest social upheavals, HAiR seems like a strange curiosity indeed.

There are many enduring songs from the show; “Aquarius”, “Hair”, “Easy to be Hard”, “Where Do I Go”, “Good Morning Starshine” and “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)”.  My favorites are the more social pieces dealing with racism, poverty and drugs; ”Colored Spade”, “I’m Black/Ain’t Got No”, “Three-Five-Zero-Zero”, “Initials (LBJ)”. The cast of 19 does sound good when harmonizing, if a little weak on the solos. The orchestra, led by Musical Director John Hollis, does a great job with Galt MacDermot’s beautiful score.

Jon Rosen, who previously directed the show in San Jose in 2007, handles the large cast, choreography and energy of the show with gusto. Jennifer Lee Ho’s choreography has the movement of the 60’s and Richard Gutierrez’s costumes reflect the free-flowing style of the late 60’s.

There is common ground with the struggles represented in HAiR and today- sadly, the struggles continue. It’s that constancy that makes the show relevant today. The hippie characters of HAiR were the social changers of their times and should be role models for the gay, civil and women rights movements of the 70’s and 80’s.

Performance run through August 26th, 2017   415.949.9843