Travel back to a time of freedom, flowers, and long hair: to the Age of Aquarius. The country was experiencing civil unrest while expressing outrage at the Vietnam War. The youth grew out their hair in protest and brought about a revolution of peace and love, and for those whose number was up it meant The Draft.
The rock musical Hair held a mirror up to society when it opened 43 years ago today, and it remains just as relevant as ever.
Off-Broadway actors James Rado and Gerome Ragni began writing the musical four years before it would make it to The Biltmore Theater on Broadway. Rado explains the inspiration for Hair came from “a combination of characters we met in the streets, people we knew, and our own imaginations. We knew this group of kids who were dropping out and dodging the draft, and there were lots of articles in the press about how kids were being kicked out of school for growing their hair long.”
“There was so much excitement in the streets and the parks and the hippie areas, we thought if we could transmit this excitement to the stage it would be wonderful,” explains Rado. In fact, many of the cast members were plucked right off the street, like Shelley Plimpton. ”You could read about it and see film clips, but you’d never experience it. We thought, ‘This is happening in the streets,’ and we wanted to bring it to the stage.”
Let the sun shine in and check out the five best songs from the musical below!