I saw the first matinee of the current Broadway run of the musical HAIR on March 7. Going in, knowing the story and some music, I was thoroughly excited to see my first production of the 1960s musical.
When you first walk in the mood is automatically created. It wasn't just another, walk into theatre, sit down and wait for the show to start. There was a buzz in the air, with the curtain hung up on the stage in this beautiful purplish array of colors, and with handprint lights on the walls of the theatre - it was really unique and different. It really felt like we were already introduced and absorbed into their story before the show even began. Oh, and a member of the hippie tribe does some unusual yoga/streching before the show in front of the audience - another great way to begin the performance.
The show itself was fantastic - this being my first time - I didn't realize the whole cast (tribe) was on stage for almost every song. It really felt like they were this big (dysfunctional) family, who cared about each other. Berger, played by Prince himself, Will Swenson. I say Prince because I saw him mulitple times in We Will Rock You Las Vegas. He completely engages the audience from the get go and despite one technical program with a mic during his song "Going Down" (had to use a mic instead of his head set but handled it like a pro), he was amazing. I hear talk of a possible Tony nom. Good for him, well deserved.
Oh Gavin Creel, how I have come to adore you since watching you in Thoroughly Modern Millie in a grainy bootleg VHS. I was so excited to see him and I can say without a doubt, he was fabulous. Gavin has this voice - yes a voice - that is so powerful and so full of life and emotion that captues his audience. As Claude, I really felt how he could feel so conflicted about burning his draft card, about his relationship with his parents - so when it comes to the end of the play - it's so heartbreaking (more on that in a minute).
Sheila, played by Cassie Levy, was adorable - given the role is a little underwritten - does the best she can. She has a great number, "Easy To be Hard", and she rips through it like a force.
Jeanie, played by Kacie Sheik, was an ensemble member who completely stood out - maybe it's her incredible hair (yes, I am jealous). The pregnant character, who is in love with Claude, is the totally encompassment of the hippie tribe. So much love to Miss. Scaramouche.
The final scene, where the cast sings "Flesh Failures/Let The Sun Shine In" was one of the most profound pieces of imagary that I can recall seeing in the theatre. The entire house was still, but full of emotion as the cast sang the final song and moved its way through the audience, to where the song ended in a fading echo, with Claude left on stage. So incredibly moving.
The bows included a reprise of "Let The Sun Shine In", where the tribe invited audience members to come on stage and dance with them. Now - if I hadn't been a poor college student, who purchased the cheapest tickets in the last row - I would have been up there with them. But you know - there's always next time. And I attend to see it, again and again and again.'
** I also want to mention how cool their marketing and advertising has been. Their signs are bright and vibrant and completely welcoming. Also, on their website, instead of regular bios, they have "tribe videos" which are really really cool (in my book). Also, they have a Twitter and several other social programs. Totally cool.