New era, new audience, new revival for Hair
The celebrated rock opera Hair will open in a new era and to a new audience next month.
Director Damian Thorne says he was attracted to the landmark show which created such controversy in the 1960s because he could present it to a new generation who knew little about it.
When he researched the musical, he discovered that many issues at the time Hair was launched still resonate nearly 50 years later.
He has channelled the 60s opposition to the Vietnam War and the hippie phenomenon into the story of a timeless commune protesting against war and violence and advocating peace.
‘‘The story is relevant in any age and we’ve created a group of people who live their lives in a different way to conventional society, while opposing conflict in the world,’’ Damian says.
‘‘The community is made up of a leader, Joseph Berger, and his followers who look after each other, are compassionate to the most vulnerable and have a common belief in what they do.’’
Damian has remained faithful to the leading characters of the Abbey Musical Theatre (AMT) show but has challenged his cast to create personalities for themselves. Rather than just be ‘‘chorus’’, the Hair ensemble has fleshed out their character with a background, family dynamic, purpose, motivation and personality.
Hair progresses through the relationships and political events to where the cast end in a different space and mindset from where they began.
Musical director Roger Buchanan has assembled an eight-piece rock band to accompany such numbers as Age of Aquarius, Let The Sunshine In and Good Morning Starshine which are as timeless and engaging as the show.
ATM’S Hair, choreographed by Nicola Morrison, runs from May 19 to June 4 at The Auditorium, Centennial Drive.
Hair director Damian Thorne (left) interprets the roles of Claude (Tyrell Beck) and Dionne (Tia Rongokea).