Broadway Hair Sets London Root at Gielgud, 14 Apr
When Claude arrives in late 1960s New York City, he falls in with a group of hippies called the Tribe, led by Berger, who falls in love with rich girl Sheila. Their free love and drug-enhanced happiness is disrupted by Claude’s Vietnam draft orders.
Hair has book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. The score includes “Aquarius”, “Ain’t Got No”, “I Got Life”, “Good Morning Starshine” and the title song.
The original Broadway production, premiered at the Biltmore Theatre in 1968, ran for four years. More recently in London, it was revived at the Old Vic in 1993, with a cast including Sinitta, and radically reworked in a critically acclaimed studio production in 2005at the Gate Theatre, the first musical ever mounted at the 70-seater better known for its European work. Hair was also famously made into a 1979 film, directed by Milos Forman and starring John Savage, Treat Williams and Beverley D’Angelo.
The current New York revival was first seen in Central Park in September 2007, care of the Public Theater and the New York Shakespeare Festival. It transferred to Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theater this past March and went on to win this year’s Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. It’s directed by Diane Paulus and stars Gavin Creel as Claude, Caissie Levy as Sheila and Will Swenson as Berger.
According to the Daily Mail, negotiations are under way for the American stars to accompany the production. Gavin Creel appeared in the West End in 2006 as Bert in Mary Poppins (See News, 16 Jun 2006), which was produced by impresario Cameron Mackintosh, who is also behind the West End transfer of Hair.
Currently at the Gielgud Theatre, another Cameron Mackintosh production imported from Broadway, Avenue Q, is currently booking through to 20 March 2010, when it’s expected to finish. Having premiered Off-Broadway in 2004 before going on to win three Tony Awards in New York, the cult-hit puppet musical, billed as an adult version of Sesame Street, had its West End premiere at the Noel Coward Theatre in June 2006 before moving this past June to the Gielgud (See News, 9 Mar 2009).