The 1960s changed the United States in a dramatic way. As the American subconcsous was torn between war and love, a new counter culture emerged to dominate trends and revolutions of the time. Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical not only changed the way we think of musicals but also the content and context of the theatre world. The Artists’ Studio of Fishers, Indiana presents Hair now through July 25, with performances Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 5:00 pm. Tickets to this Indianapolis theatre event are $15.00 for adults and $11.00 for Indianapolis kids twelve and under.
A product of the hippie counter culture of the 1960s, Hair became an anthem for an entire generation involved in the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. Not without its share of controversy, the musical’s use of profanity, depiction of the use of illegal drugs, treatment of sexuality, questioning of American iconography and nudity created a buzz of conflict for many during its initial run off and on Broadway in 1967 and 1968. Upon its opening on Broadway, the show spread across the United States and Europe like wild fire, with simultaneous regional productions popping up in various theatre communities.
The play follows a “tribe” of politically active long haired hippies who are living in the “Age of Aquarius” as they struggle through a bohemian existence in New York City. Together they fight against conscription into the Vietnam War and navigate the tumultuous waters of the sexual revolution. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Shelia, and their friends struggle to balance their young lives with the strife of the world around them as they rebel against the war, their conservative parents and a society that has rejected them. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft, as his friends have done, or to compromise his pacifistic principles and risk his life by serving in the Vietnam War.
The music of Hair revolutionized musical drama by introducing rock and pop to the mix. Songs like “Aquarius,” “Hair,” “Good Morning Starshine” and “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)” easily transitioned to gain major radio play during the time, a practically unheard of feat in the musical world. Other songs like “Hashish” and “Sodomy” pushed the limitations of society by not only putting extremely taboo subject on the table, but by singing and dancing about them.
The racially integrated cast was also a first in the musical world and is especially notable as the play premiered at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. In addition, the script broke down fourth wall barriers between audiences and actors inviting patrons on stage for a “Be In” finale. Hair is credited with changing many of the social norms held by Western society in the late 1960s. Not only did it make long hair acceptable, it made it a social statement. Lyricist James Rado remembers that long hair “was a visible form of awareness in the consciousness expansion. The longer the hair got, the more expansive the mind was. Long hair was shocking, and it was a revolutionary act to grow long hair.”
Don’t miss the Artist Studio’s production of Hair now through July 25 in Fishers, Indiana. Make your outing in Indy complete with dinner from any of these Indianapolis restaurants or Fishers restaurants. After the show, imagine the impact of early productions over drinks from any of these Indianapolis bars or Fishers bars.
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Through July 25, 2010
The Artists’ Studio
Center for the Performing Arts
12810 Ford Drive
Fishers, IN 46038