HAIR PROM­ISES TO LET THE SUN­SHINE IN

The Tribune (NZ) - - OPINION | CONVERSATIONS -

The mu­si­cal that broke with tra­di­tion and ad­dressed crit­i­cal is­sues of iden­tity, up­bring­ing, protest and the sex­ual revolution opens at the Au­di­to­rium to­mor­row night.

Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre ( AMT) presents Hair, a con­tro­ver­sial 1960’s mu­si­cal that is just as rel­e­vant to a new gen­er­a­tion.

The themes of peace, anti-war, po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism, drugs and re­la­tion­ships will res­onate with to­day’s young peo­ple as well as bring­ing plea­sure to an older age group who vividly re­mem­ber the con­tro­ver­sial mu­si­cal when it first opened 45 years ago.

Hair, with book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and mu­sic by Galt MacDer­mot, tells the story of a “tribe”, a com­mu­nity of po­lit­i­cally ac­tive, young peo­ple liv­ing a bo­hemian life, em­brac­ing peace and the sex­ual revolution and protest­ing against war. Claude, his good friend Berger, their room­mate Sheila and their close knit group of friends, strug­gle to bal­ance their young lives and loves with their re­bel­lion against con­flict, con­ser­va­tive par­ents and so­ci­ety.

Pro­duc­tion Man­ager for Hair, Mer­ryn Os­borne, says Hair had phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess on Broad­way, the West End and around the globe.

“It’s con­sid­ered the world’s first rock opera and plays a very im­por­tant part in the evo­lu­tion of the mu­si­cal,” she says. “It’s an in­cred­i­bly vis­ual show. It is full ensemble, all sing­ing, all act­ing, all danc­ing as it con­fronts the is­sues faced by an anti-es­tab­lish­ment group of peo­ple try­ing to make sense of the world around them.” Mer­ryn points out that songs like The Age of Aquarius and Let the Sun Shine In are haunt­ing, en­dur­ing stan­dards with huge ap­peal to mil­lions of peo­ple.

Claude, who has the dilemma of whether to serve his coun­try or re­sist, is played by Tyrell Beck, “a stun­ning new­comer who gives a pow­er­ful per­for­mance” she says.

Bex Palmer, in her big­gest role yet, is Berger, the influential leader who ma­nip­u­lates the tribe. Bex has played strong sup­port­ing roles in Mamma Mia and Sweeney Todd. Ash­leigh Blum­mont, an im­pres­sive per­former in Bri­tish In­va­sion, is Sheila, a mil­i­tant, in love with Berger and op­posed to con­scrip­tion and blood­shed.

While they’re the three lead­ers, every mem­ber of the ensemble has cre­ated a per­sona that they re­tain in song, dance and di­a­logue through­out the show. “When, in the 1960s, young peo­ple op­posed Richard Nixon and the war in Viet­nam, to­day’s gen­er­a­tion are ap­palled at the vi­o­lence in Syria and Iraq and op­pose Don­ald Trump,” Mer­ryn says. “That makes Hair so rel­e­vant in 2016.” AMT’s Hair, directed by Damian Thorne with mu­si­cal di­rec­tor, Roger Buchanan and chore­og­ra­pher Ni­cola Mor­ri­son, runs from May 19 to June 4 at the Au­di­to­rium, Cen­ten­nial Drive.

When cast mem­bers of Hair op­posed politi­cians, Richard Nixon and LBJ, 40 plus years ago, to­day they protest Don­ald Trump. From left Sarah Leish­man (Chrissy), Drew Pouniu (Woof) and Ash­leigh Bond (Jac­que­line).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.