Hair at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park
I kept thinking during tonight's 40th-anniversary performance of Hair how blown away people must have been by this show back in 1967. Imagine having a foot (or two) in the "straight" world, and walking in cold, or even halfway knowing what to expect, to the Public Theater in the East Village, and hearing song after traditionally-arranged song celebrate—in the most explicit terms—promiscuous sex and the glories of drugs; and seeing these young men and women strip naked; and hear them shout out the coarsest of racial epitaphs, and the most venomous of anti-government slogans.
Anyway, although some of Hair definitely shows signs of age (obviously, it's very much of a time and place—dig all that wonderful, goofy hippie naivety burbling just below the anger), there's still enough genuine power and solid songwriting here to make this more than just a nostalgia trip... though, tellingly, Bo and Co enjoyed it considerably less than me or their mom.
Highlights for me tonight included Manchester England (and, really, everything sung by Jonathan Groff as Claude), I Believe in Love, Where Do I Go, Black Boys, White Boys, and, especially, the last three or four numbers, performed almost like a medley, and ending with a true goose-bump moment when the company—or, I should say, the "Tribe"—launched into Let the Sun Shine In.
Hair is playing for free at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for two more nights, Sunday and Monday, September 23 and 24. Tickets are distributed at the Delacorte and at the Public Theater on Lafayette Street at around 1:00 on the day of the show. Bo and Co's mom did most of the line-waiting for us today: she arrived in the park at 7:15 in the morning, and we got some of the last seats—all singles—available. However. Friends of ours missed out on the 1:00 distribution, received vouchers (numbers 44 - 48, I think), showed up that night and got MUCH better seats than us. Also: apparently everyone on the evening's "stand-by" line also got tickets, so who knows what the best strategy might be.
And I apologize for the terrible pictures... security was tight, I saw several people forced to delete camera-phone shots while staff looked on, and there were several pre-performance speeches on the no-photo rule, emphasizing without irony before this anti-authority celebration that to do so would be "illegal."