Give me down-to-there Hair: Now playing at the Buell Theatre

Categories: Theater

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2009 Broadway revival cast photos below by Joan Marcus.

I don't know exactly what I expected when I walked into the Buell Tuesday for the opening night of Hair, and after the curtain went up and the once-controversial musical got started, even my theater-going companion, an old hippie in every sense of the word, wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

It's a show with a history of transitions, from its late-'60s beginnings at Joe Papp's Public Theater in New York to the retooled version that wowed Broadway and the resulting 1979 movie by MiloŇ° Forman; this one, the touring Broadway revival, is pleasant enough, perhaps best viewed through a haze of pot smoke, or at least after downing a glass of wine. (Ripple is fine, though I had a nice pinot noir at the Mercury Cafe beforehand.) Some memorable performers rise up from and sink back into Hair's resident "tribe" throughout the show, and the overall production is fun, whether you lived through those times or not.

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For the record, the much-ballyhooed nudity in Hair is gratuitous by today's standards, with no real purpose in furthering the wisp of a plot, other than to announce that it's there. Hippies were like that, you know. In 1971, local promoter Bob Garner booked the show into what was then the Auditorium Theatre, but was thwarted by the threat of arrest, both for him and anyone who dared to disrobe on the stage. He was happily able to move the show to Boulder's Macky Auditorium for a successful run in the more lenient Republic.

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