Thursday, December 24, 2009

New York, Winter 2009 - Day Eight, "Hair"

I remember the cast album for "Hair" quite clearly. My oldest brother (20 years older) owned it, and when it was first out it was played with some regularity in his house, usually after a Saturday night dinner where some not insignificant amount of wine was consumed. I was 11 or so when the cast album was released, so some of it went over my head. I remember someone asking me if I liked the record, and when I said "yes" my other brother said "you like the one about fellatio?" my mother chided him. I knew some of the words in the number to which he was referring ("Sodomy"), but that wasn't among them at the time.

But this is all really beside the point, isn't it? I guess the point was that I went into this new production of "Hair" with a relative familiarity with the music. I'd also seen the cast perform during the 2009 Tony Awards, and loved it. Their performance was wild and energetic and unleashed -- and it's even more so live.

Be warned, this is not a production for children. This warning is too late for a seemingly single dad, who brought three 5-6 year olds to see the rather overt sexuality, hear the F-bomb dropped with some regularity, and hum along with the aforementioned "Sodomy": "Sodomy...fellatio...cunnilingus...pederasty." So keep anyone under 16 or so at home, but come and enjoy yourself.

Unlike last night's dreadful "Finnian's Rainbow," this revival has almost as much relevance as it ever did. When one character says "war is about the white people sending the black people to kill the yellow people to protect the land we stole from the red people," the only alteration that would be needed to make that more contemporary would be to change "yellow people" to "brown people." We're fighting an unpopular war abroad and are torn apart by political and generational divisions at home. Yet the message of "Hair" remains the same: love each other. And let the sun shine in.

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