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Hair, the tribal rock mu­si­cal re­turns with a pro­duc­tion for the decades at the Cen­ten­nial Drive Au­di­to­rium.

‘‘Gimme a head of hair, long beau­ti­ful hair, Shin­ing, gleam­ing, stream­ing, flaxen, waxen.’’

The lyrics to the ti­tle song of 60’s flower-power stage show Hair even made it as far as high school po­etry classes back in the day.

Among the other hit songs from the ‘‘tribal rock opera’’ protest­ing the Viet­nam War were The Age of Aquarius, Let the Sun­shine In, Easy to Be Hard, Ain’t Got No / I Got Life and Good Morn­ing Starshine.

The Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre pro­duc­tion that opens in the Cen­ten­nial Dr Au­di­to­rium to­mor­row night will be the third the so­ci­ety has pro­duced. The first was in the year of tu­mult, 1981. The sec­ond, in 1996 directed by Robert Rim­mer, and fea­tured Dal­va­nius (of Patea Maori Club fame), and was the last show to grace the stage of the old Opera House be­fore the build­ing re­ceived an un­able-to-avoid in­vi­ta­tion to the ‘wreck­ers ball’.

So, why bring back a hoary (not to men­tion hairy) old pe­riod piece. Peace, love and un­der­stand­ing is so out of whack with these grasp­ing and conflicted times.

‘‘Ex­actly!’’ re­sponds di­rec­tor Damian Thorne. Since Viet­nam there has been al­most con­tin­ual war­fare some­where on the planet, even if the 60s uni­fied and mo­bilised anti-war protest move­ments have faded away.

‘‘It’s plonked in a world where

‘‘I came back to see what she had done and it was ex­actly what I wanted.’’

– Damian Thorne

war ex­ists and war has ex­isted in every decade that I have been alive,’’ Damian says, ‘‘and there have been protests against war in every decade as well and bad de­ci­sions made. So, it’s com­pletely rel­e­vant at any time.’’

While the orig­i­nal script is pretty much in­tact, the show’s hip­pies have be­come mem­bers of a tribe who are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all the in­ter­ven­ing decades.

‘‘We’re making the show ex­ist across the ages.’’

There will be David Bowie and Prince trib­utes, ref­er­ences to Don­ald Trump and Sarah Palin... Daleks even, while chore­og­ra­pher Ni­cola Mor­ri­son has added el­e­ments of hip hop.

‘‘I came back to see what she had done and it was ex­actly what I wanted. It’s mod­ern and it’s ex­cit­ing. It’s in­con­gru­ous with the mu­si­cal, which is cool, be­cause I re­ally like to see some­thing fit that doesn’t re­ally fit.’’

De­spite be­ing ‘‘so last cen­tury’’, Damien says the show still packs a punch.

❚ Hair Thurs­day May 19 to June 4, The Au­di­to­rium, Cen­ten­nial Dr.


The Hair ensemble is giv­ing an old hit new mean­ing.

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