Hair…something to sing about?

photo courtesy of hennepin theater trust

Shannon Cron, photographer

“Hair”––a vibrant, toe-tapping revival of the original Broadway rock musical––comes to Orpheum Theatre March 1-6, and by the third musical number, you’ll certainly be singing along. Written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni with music by Galt MacDermot, this contagiously outrageous celebration of the 1960s––and good hair––keeps the audience captivated all the way through both acts.

This passionate production perfectly depicts the raw essence of youth––leaving nothing to the imagination. From strong vocals that send chills up the spine, to a insightful theme of change in cultural and political America, this show tackles issues of racism, sexual identity, poverty, illegal drug use, and the war in Vietnam.

The show begins with the opening number, “Age of Aquarious,” adequately setting a psychedelic tone for the rest of the show. The plot revolves around the “tribe”: a group of young, long-haired hippies rebelling against society’s conservative values. The leading male character, Claude, is drafted to fight in Vietnam and wrestles with the idea that he must chose between serving his country and his pro-peace values.

The pleasantly presented songs “I Got Life,” “Easy to be Hard,” “Where do I go,” and “Good Morning Starshine,” are just some of the catchy numbers that take the audience through the emotional ups and downs of the production. Though the music is heavily ensemble based––complete with many explosively rhythmic choral numbers––some passionately belted solos are heard in the show.

The actors maintain a high level of energy throughout the entire show, keeping the audience entertained through each character’s personal journey of growth. Though the show mainly focuses on Claude’s story, every character has a chance to share his or her individual story with the audience, giving the musical depth and purpose.

Another major part of the production involves costumes, make-up, and of course, plenty of hair. With an essentially carefree look, the style of the cast screams rebellious 1960s college student, adding to the overall feel-good vibe of the show.

Though the dancing looks clean and professional, somehow the actors manage to make the movement feel spontaneous, making the audience’s urge to join in hard to control. From appealing configurations, and impressive technique, to extreme hair flipping, the choreography helps the cast convey what it means to be young, free, anxious, and wanting to take the world by storm.