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Peace, Love and Hair
by: Eloise Coopersmith
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The cast of Hair sends a message of peace to the world.
The cast of Hair sends a message of peace to the world.

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, it made perfect sense to go see Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical currently running at The Chance Theater in Anaheim.

Hair, written in 1968 by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, with music by Galt MacDermot, was considered quite revolutionary for its time. The current Broadway revival—which recalls those heady days in the late 60’s when everything seemed groovy—recently won a Tony.

The audience itself was a throw-back to the Woodstock era—lots of long gray hair and worn tie dye t-shirts. Hair celebrated the new freedoms of the sixties, when young men and women fought the traditions of their parents. It was a time to push through the boundaries of sex and drugs to the pulsating rhythms of rock and roll; a time of celebration and unrest as a new generation made their voices heard.

The soulful, yet powerful voice of Dionne (Amber Snead) in the opening song, "Aquarius", proved early on that Hair was nothing short of a brilliant combination of a good storyline and talented performers. Ms. Snead can definitely belt it out! Berger (Armando Gutierrez), brought intense charisma to his character and kept the audience riveted. Claude (James May) was vulnerable as he played a young man torn between the values of his family and those of his generation.

The remainder of the ensemble was filled with dynamic performers: Hud (David LaMarr), Leata (Raleigh Bisbee) and Natalie (Ashley Norland) captured the exuberance of the times and drew the audience in both physically and emotionally.

The challenge in producing Hair was to avoid creating a museum piece or a review of songs from the 60’s. However, director, Oanh Nguyen, added an element of uniqueness and originality to the production by shaping the narrative of the play, changing some of the story’s texture without marring the fabric of the piece. It was those subtle alterations that took the audience on the tribe’s journey and reminded us of the power of change.

The spirited choreography by Kelly Todd, gritty sets by Christopher Scott Murillo, period costumes by Erika C. Miller and trippy psychedelic lighting by KC Wilkerson all contributed greatly to the show’s success.
 
(Due to profane language and occasional nudity, this show is recommended for mature audiences only.)

  • Hair was extended and now runs through the end of August on Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Make reservations by calling 714.777.3033 or by visiting www.chancetheater.com.
     
  • Playing next week: Monty Python’s, Spamalot at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. It is coming to the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts October 6-18 and a promo code of, “KNIGHT” offers patrons a special promotion discount ticket price. Call 714.556.2787 for more information.
     
  • If you have a live performance in the South County Area that you would like reviewed please email editor@news-n-views.com and News-n-Views will be there!
     

Eloise Coopersmith is a south county resident who has spent a lifetime in the theater. A Masters in Theater Arts and a notable experience in acting and producing plays, it is her dream to get everyone off their couches and back into live performance venues.


Eloise Coopersmith is a South County resident who has spent a lifetime in the theater. Her mother Nancy Coopersmith is in Northern California and is a writer of children’s stories and maker of inventive books. Together they wrote this review and it is their hope to get everyone off their couches and back into live performance venues.
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