The legendary musical HAIR, which began life downtown at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in October, 1967 (prior to its roof-raising debut on Broadway in April, 1968), will celebrate its 50th anniversary and its East Village roots in a one-time-only special event at La MaMa (66 E. 4 St. in NYC) on Saturday, January 21 at 2 p.m.
With book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot, HAIR is the American Tribal Rock Musical that helped define its generation, and the anti-war movement in the 1960s.
Highlights of the HAIR happening on January 21 include live performances by members of the original 1967 and 1968 casts, as well as members of the recent, enormously successful 2009 Broadway revival. Songs to be performed include “Aquarius,” “Donna,” “Where Do I Go?,” “Frank Mills,” “Air,” “Black Boys,” “Let the Sunshine” and more.
Performers from various Broadway casts of HAIR expected to participate: Shaelah Adkisson (‘09), Ellen Foley (‘79), Natalie Mosco (’68), Allan Nicholls (’68), Rev. Marjrie Lipari (’68), Dale Soules (’68), Andre De Shields (’69, Chicago), Ula Hedwig (’68) and Keith Carradine.
The very first demo recording of the title song HAIR (1967), sung by Rado and Ragni with MacDermot on piano will be played. This recording has never before been heard publicly.
HAIR creators James Rado and Galt MacDermot will be on hand to share their personal stories with the audience. (Their collaborator Gerome Ragni died in 1991). The event will be attended by special guests, and feature a pre-recorded video from both HAIR producer Michael Butler, and original cast member Walter Michael Harris. The event will also celebrate creator James Rado’s 85th birthday.
On view will be photographs by the noted lens-woman Dagmar Krajnc, who took rarely seen photos during the early years of HAIR; and photographs from the HAIR private collection provided by producer Michael Butler.
HAIR‘s 50th anniversary event is presented as part of La MaMa’s popular Coffeehouse Chronicles series, which explores the history and development of Off-Off-Broadway, part history lesson and part portrait of downtown artists and their work.
La MaMa’s attachment to HAIR, and vice versa, dates back to the 1960’s when, during its developmental process, the HAIR team turned to La MaMa’s leading, innovative director Tom O’Horgan to take over the reins of the musical.
The HAIR Coffeehouse Chronicles is moderated by Chris Kapp. The event is curated and directed by Michal Gamily, Chronicles’ director, with educational outreach led by Arthur Adair. Admission to the Coffeehouse Chronicles is free (suggested donation, however, reservations in advance are required at www.lamama.org.