“Hair” premieres on Broadway

“Hair” premieres on Broadway


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In a year marked by as much social and cultural upheaval as 1968, it was understandable that the New York Times review of a controversial musical newly arrived on Broadway would describe the show in political terms. “You probably don’t have to be a supporter of Eugene McCarthy to love it,” wrote critic Clive Barnes, “but I wouldn’t give it much chance among the adherents of Governor Reagan.” The show in question was Hair, the now-famous “tribal love-rock musical” that introduced the era-defining song “Aquarius” and gave New York theatergoers a full-frontal glimpse of the burgeoning '60s-counterculture esthetic. Hair premiered on Broadway on April 29, 1968.

Hair was not a brand-new show when it opened at the Biltmore Theater on this night in 1968. It began its run 40 blocks to the south, in the East Village, as the inaugural production of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. Despite mediocre reviews, Hair was a big enough hit with audiences during its six-week run at the Public to win financial backing for a proposed move to Broadway. While this kind of move would later become more common, it was exceedingly rare for a musical at the time, and it was a particularly bold move for a musical with a nontraditional score. Hair, after all, was the first rock musical to make a play for mainstream success on the Great White Way. But the novelty of the show didn’t stop with its music or references to sex and drugs. Hair also featured a much-talked-about scene at the end of its first act in which the cast appeared completely nude on the dimly lit stage.

It turned out that these potentially shocking breaks from Broadway tradition turned didn’t turn off Broadway audiences at all. Hair quickly became not just a smash-hit show, but a genuine cultural phenomenon that spawned a million-selling original cast recording and a #1 song on the pop charts for the Fifth Dimension. Forty years after its initial downtown opening, Charles Isherwood, writing for the New York Times, placed Hair in its proper historical context: “For darker, knottier and more richly textured sonic experiences of the times, you turn to the Doors or Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell or Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin. Or all of them. For an escapist dose of the sweet sound of youth brimming with hope that the world is going to change tomorrow, you listen to Hair and let the sunshine in.”

READ MORE: How the Vietnam War Empowered the Hippie Movement


History of Hairspray

Opening August 15, 2002, Hairspray has become one of the most adored musicals on Broadway. Adapted from a 1988 film written by John Waters, who had previously created movies with disturbing images, it was a surprise to everyone the success of this loud and flashy show. After seven successful years of being on Broadway, the show closed, only to be revived as another film in 2007. What made this show so popular is its spot on references to 1960’s Baltimore, including the wacky beehive hair, the beloved after school special with all of the popular rock n’ roll jams, and the social dramas in society.

John Waters, before writing the film Hairspray, was known to write very controversial and surprising movies with very disturbing subject matter and graphics that were not popular among many people (Hairspray.) Because of this, it was very surprising to see a complete change in plot and overall genre from this crazy writer. Waters claims to have written in a completely different voice unintentionally–his goal was to continue writing about his obsessions. The obsession that inspired Hairspray was The Buddy Dean Show, the show that he would run home after school to watch. This obsession was the inspiration for Tracy and Penny’s obsession with The Corny Collin’s Show, which was the basis of the show’s social problems (Hairspray.)

After watching this surprisingly pleasant movie sick in bed, Margo Lion was inspired to turn it into a Broadway musical, and thus became the original producer of the 2002 musical. Lion recruited writers Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, lyricist and composer Marc Shaiman, and lyricist Scott Wittman to help bring this film to life on stage. John Waters was originally offered the job of writing the book for the stage adaptation, but declined, knowing that in order to make it successful on stage, something new was needed. He felt awkward enough writing the film version because he was a white man writing a comedy about racism (Hairspray.) The creators immediately went to work on the show, touring Baltimore and sketching the sights to make accurate sets and getting to know the feeling of the people and Baltimore environment. Some plot changes were made in this new script, including a defining moment for Tracy when she proceeds with the protest to integrate The Corny Collin’s Show, even after her boyfriend, Link Larkin, abandons her due to selfish concerns. This was a very important alteration because it greatly increased Tracy’s stubborn and determined personality. The casting for this Broadway show was somewhat difficult for Waters to stomach, since he was convinced that the roles “belonged” to his original film cast, including Ricki Lake and Divine, but he knew that a Broadway actor needed more flavor and pizazz than his original actors. These changes include Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy and Harvey Fierstein as Tracy’s mother in drag. Waters was happy with these decisions, as Winokur was quite clearly born to be on Broadway. Although asked to be a part of every decision made in this adaptation to ensure that everything is perfect, Waters remained reserved throughout the process, dropping the show from his hands (Hairspray.)

Before the show even closed in 2009, yet another adaptation of this hit show was created–another film that came out in July of 2007. The first draft of this new screenplay was written by Broadway writers Meehan and O’Donnell, but were replaced by Leslie Dixon. Adam Shankman was hired as the director of this film, which was a great responsibility as he was also hired as the movie’s choreographer (Wikipedia.) Starring some of the most famous actors in the time it was written, including John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Zac Efron, and Amanda Bines, this adaptation was an even bigger hit than the movie written by John Waters. Several changes were made in this adaptation of the show, mainly involving cuts of songs deemed unnecessary. In the 2007 film, Tracy is never arrested, making it impossible for Link to redeem himself after abandoning Tracy, as in the Broadway production, he is able to break her out of the cell. In the 2007 movie, Link reveals his change of heart when he dances with an African American girl on live television for the first time, making The Corny Collin’s Show integrated (film.)

The music for Hairspray plays a huge role in why the show is so popular with so many ages–it is fun, lively, and just easy to groove to! This is even illustrated in the show as the cast performs some of the hottest dance moves from the 󈨀s. Audiences can’t help but dance along, whether it be in the comfort of their own homes, or even the aisles of the Broadway theater. Especially in the scenes where Tracy is learning new dance steps, it is evident that 󈨀s music and dance is the essence of Hairspray. “You Can’t Stop the Beat”, the closing number of Hairspray, is an 8 minute-long song which solos each of the main characters, and illustrates the effects of integration, and furthermore, the success of a lifelong struggle. This song includes 󈨀s style music, comical lyrics, and addresses the overcoming of racism–all themes of Hairspray. This song also happens to have one of the grooviest sounds in the whole show.

Hairspray, although it has been adapted several times each time making more changes, has kept the same morals and has the same effect on us thirty years later. The subject matter continues to stay prevalent, no matter how far we have come from the struggles of 1960, to that of 1988, to that of 2002, to that of 2007. Throughout time, this show speaks to us, whether it be live or on a screen.

O’Donnell, Meehan, Shaiman, Wittman. Hairspray: The Roots. New York : Faber and Faber, 2003, print.


The History of Broadway

Broadway, or Broadway theatre, is theatre performances in New York in the 41 professional theatres that have 500 or more seats located along Broadway. Broadway theatres are located in the Theater District and lincoln Center in New York and are popular tourist attractions. Most shows today on Broadway are musicals with some plays. Theatre first became popular and present in New York in 1750 and is still going on to this day.

Walter Murray and Thomas Keane, actor-managers, established the first significant theatre in New York in 1750. They established a resident theatre company at a theatre on Nassau Street that held approximately 280 people. Shakespeare plays and ballad operas like The Beggar’s Opera were presented at the theatre. William Hallam sent a company of twelve British actors to the colonies along with his brother Lewis, who was also his manager, two years later in 1752. In Williamsburg, Virginia, they established a theatre, opening with The Merchant of Venice and The Anatomist. The following summer in 1753, the company moved from Williamsburg to New York, where they performed ballad operas and ballad-farces.

The Park Theatre. Source: wikipedia.org

Upon the start of the American Revolutionary war in 1775, theatre in New York was suspended, but resumed in 1798. That same year, Park Theatre was built on Chatham Street (now Park Row). Park Theatre had 2,000 seats, much more than the previous theatres. And later on in 1826, the Bowery Theatre was opened with many more to follow. In the 1830s, the American entertainment form blackface minstrel shows became popular, and even more so in the 1840s with the arrival of the Virginia Minstrels.

When Niblo’s Garden, a Broadway theatre on Broadway and Prince Street, opened in 1829, it quickly became a premiere nightspot in New York. It had 3,000 seats and presented all sorts of entertainment, including musicals. An entertainment complex was being operated by P.T. Barnum in lower Manhattan by the 1840s as well. Palmo’s Opera House opened in 1844. However, it was only open and presented operas for four seasons then had to rebrand as a play venue due to bankruptcy. Palmo’s Opera House then became known as Burton’s Theatre. In 1847, the Astor Opera house opened. When lower class Broadway patrons objected to what they had perceived as being snobbery by the upper class in the audiences at Astor place, a riot broke out in 1849.

William Shakespeare’s plays were presented frequently during this period on Broadway. Edwin Booth was a notable American actor who had gained a worldwide reputation for his performances in Hamlet as the title role. He famously played the role for 100 consecutive performances in 1865 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Edwin Booth also happened to be the brother of President Abraham Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth. Later on, Edwin Booth reprised the role at his own theatre called Booth’s Theatre. Fanny Davenport, Charles Fechter, Henry Irving, and Tommaso Salvini had also become notable Shakespearean performers in New York.

In 1868 Lydia Thompson came to America at the head of a small theatrical troupe. They adapted popular burlesques from England for middle-class audiences in New York. Her troupe became known as the “British Blondes” and during the 1868-69 season, was the most popular show.

Around 1850, seeking more inexpensive real estate in New York, moved from downtown to midtown. By 1870, Union Square was the heart of Broadway. And then by the end of the nineteenth century most theatres were located near Madison Square. Not until the early twentieth century did theatres find their way to Times Square.

The first “long-run” musical on Broadway was The Elves , which was presented in 1857 and ran for fifty shows. Musical runs in New York noticeably lagged behind musicals in London’s West End. New York records were shattered when Laura Keene debuted her “musical burletta” in 1860 called The Seven Sisters . The show ran for a total of 253 performances.

The Black Crook is considered to be the first piece of theatre that set the stage for the modern musical when it debuted on September 12, 1866 in New York. The show ran for fave and a half hours and had a record breaking 474 performances. In 1866, the first show to be called a musical comedy was The Black Domino/Between You, Me, and the Post.

In 1881, the first vaudeville theatre was opened just east of Union Square by Tony Pastor. There, Lillian Russell, prominent American actress and singer, performed. Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart, two comedians, produced and starred in their own musicals from 1878-90. Their show The Mulligan Guard Picnic featured a book and lyrics by Harrigan and his father-in-law, David Braham, did the music. Their musical comedies were about characters and their everyday lives as lower class New Yorkers. They represented significant steps from the popular vaudeville and burlesque to a more literate form of theatre. Instead of women of more questionable repute from earlier forms of musicals, Harrigan and Hart’s musicals starred high quality signers like Lillian Russell, Vivienne Segal, and Fay Templeton.

The number of potential theatre patrons grew immensely as transportation in New York improved, poverty diminished, and street lighting made for safer night travel. Plays were then able to run longer and draw in large audiences. This led to better profits and improved values in production. Much like what was happening in England, theatre was becoming more clean with less prostitution. Gilbert and Sullivan created family-friendly comic operas that were hits in London and were soon brought to America. In 1878, they began with H.M.S. Pinafore. American productions like Robin Hood in 1891 and El Capitan in 1896 were imitations of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works.

Charley Hoyt took over the record of the longest running show when A Trip to Chinatown came out in 1891. The show ran for a total of 657 performances! Not until 1919 was this record surpassed either with Irene. Five years later in 1896, the Theatrical Syndicate was formed by two theatre owners, Marc Klaw and A. L. Erlanger. The Theatrical Syndicate was in control of nearly every legitimate theatre located in the United States for sixteen years to come. Small vaudeville and variety houses continued to be profitable and Off-Broadway had been established by the end of the 19th century too.

The first musical comedy that was entirely produced and performed by African Americans on Broadway was A Trip to Coontown in 1998. Clorindy: The Origin of the Cakewalk in 1898 and In Dahomey in 1902 followed. The latter was extremely successful. In the early 1890s and 1900s many musical comedies began showing up on Broadway from composers such as John Walter Bratton, George M. Cohan, Gus Edwards, and more. New York Broadway runs continued to be short for the most part, unlike in London. British musicals were also extremely successful in New York.

In the early 1900s, translations of popular operettas and the “Princess Theatre” shows were popular. Broadway shows also began to install electric signs outside the theatres, starting with The Red Mill (1906). colored bulbs burned out too fast, so they used white lights instead. Thus, Broadway was given the nickname “The Great White Way”.

The Actors’ Equity Association demanded a standard contract for all professional products in August of 1919 and went on strike. Due to the estrick, all theatres were shut down and producers were forced to agree with them. And by the 1920s, the Shubert Brothers took over most of the theatres from the Erlanger syndicate.

Winchell Smith and Frank Bacon’s Lightin’ was the first show on Broadway to ever reach 700 performances. And it later also became the first show to reach 1,000 performance. It was the longest running Broadway show before Abie’s Irish Rose in 1925 took over.

When the motion picture first debuted, it became a competition to stage performances. Originally they were only limited competition due to being silent, but by the 1920s as films had synchronized sound, they competed more and more with theatre. Some critics even wondered if cinema would altogether replace live theatre. Live vaudeville did out and could not compete with inexpensive films featuring vaudeville stars and other major comedians.

Musicals of the 1920s borrowed from vaudeville, musical hall, and other entertainment types and ignored plot to instead emphasize actors and actresses, dance routines, and popular songs. Annually, Florenz Ziegfeld produced song-and-dance reviews on Broadway that featured extravagant and elaborate sets and costumes. Many of the productions from the 1920s were lighthearted and included Funny Face, Harlem, Lady Be Good, Sally, and many more.

Show Boat premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 27, 1927, leaving behind the frivolous shows from earlier that decade. The musical had a book and score and was made up of dramatic themes told through music and dialogue, along with setting and movement. It ran for a total of 572 performances.

Eugene O’Neill proved that serious dramas on Broadway could be successful during the 20s with his plays Anna Christie, Beyond the Horizon, The Hairy Ape, Mourning Becomes Electra, and Strange Interlude . O’Neill’s great success on Broadway set the stage for other well known playwrights and dramatists such as Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, among others.

Many Broadway dramas began to address the rise in Europe of Nazism as World War II was approaching. They also addressed America’s non-intervention. Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine opened in April of 1941 and was the most successful of these plays.

Broadway theatre had gone into a golden age when Oklahoma! premiered in 1943. The blockbuster musical ran for a total of 2,212 performances and was the first musical Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote together. The two of them went on to write many more successful musicals together.

A committee of the American Theatre Wing founded the Tony Awards in 1947. They named the awards after actress, director, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, and producer Antoinette Perry who had passed away the year before. On April 6, 1947, the first awards ceremony was held at the New York City Waldorf Astoria hotel. The awards are still going on to this for Broadway productions and are considered to be the highest honor in the U.S. for theatre.

Producer and director Joe Papp, who had also established The Public Theater in New york, led the “Save the Theatres” campaign in the spring of 1982. The not-for-profit organization was created to save theater buildings from being demolished. It was also supported by the Actors Equity Union.

The 97th Congress introduced a bill called “H.R.6885, A bill to designate the Broadway/Times Square Theatre District in the City of New York as a national historic site” in July of 1982. Mayor Ed Koch’s Administration lobbied hard against the bill along with corporate Manhattan development interests. In the end, the bill was not passed.

Today, the longest running show on Broadway is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, which began previews in early 1988 and opened at the end of January that year. On February 11, 2012, it became the first broadway musical to ever surpass 10,000 performances. And by November of 2016, the musical had been performed over 12,000 times in 28 years.


Contents

Set in the recent past, the musical opens with a group of suburban youths living unhappily in "Jingletown, USA". Fed up with the state of the union, the company explodes in frustration during the song "American Idiot". One of the youths, Johnny, begins to tell his story in the five-song medley "Jesus of Suburbia", he talks about coming from a broken home and seeming to be lost in the world. He soon goes to commiserate with his friend Will, and a third friend, Tunny, joins the two at Will's house. As they party and get drunk they soon run out of beer, prompting them to pick up more at the local 7-Eleven. Tunny soon exposes the do-nothing go-nowhere quicksand of their lives in the "City of the Damned". Realising they aren't going anywhere, Johnny challenges his friends to start caring about their lives and everything around them ("I Don't Care"). Soon Will's girlfriend, Heather, comes into the story. She finds out that she will have a baby soon, and after seeing Will getting drunk and high with his friends she feels that she can't get through to him in "Dearly Beloved". Johnny borrows money and buys bus tickets to the city for the three young men, eager to escape suburbia. Before the boys are able to leave, Heather tells Will of her pregnancy. With no other choice, he tells his friends he must stay at home in "Tales of Another Broken Home". Johnny and Tunny soon depart for the city with a group of other jaded youths ("Holiday").

While Johnny wanders the city alone, he pines for a woman he sees in an apartment window. Johnny's dreams and expectations of the city have fallen short so far as he sings "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". While Tunny finds it hard to adjust to urban life, he spends his time watching television and is seduced by America's favourite son, the all-American sex symbol who everyone wants to be. He is slowly convinced that the favourite son is everything he wants to be as well. ("Favorite Son"). With stars in his eyes from Favorite Son Tunny realises that his generation has been so numbed and apathetic that nothing, not even the bright lights of the city, will excite him. In the song "Are We the Waiting", Tunny enlists in the army and is shipped off.

Back in the city, a frustrated Johnny manifests a rebellious drug-dealing alter ego called St. Jimmy. Johnny takes party drugs for the first time during the song "St. Jimmy". His new-found courage thanks to St. Jimmy and the drugs allow Johnny to make a successful move on the girl in the window. Back in Jingletown, Will sits on the couch as his girlfriend's pregnancy progresses. He drinks beer and begs for a release. Meanwhile, Tunny is deployed to a war zone, and is soon shot and wounded. Will and Tunny sing "Give Me Novacaine" as they are both in need of a pain reliever in their current predicaments.

Two weeks later, Johnny admits he has injected heroin for the first time and spends the night with the girl he saw in the window, whom he calls "Whatsername". Johnny is smitten with Whatsername and wants to celebrate, but St. Jimmy has other plans for them in "Last of the American Girls/She's a Rebel" where Johnny and Whatsername go to a club together. St. Jimmy hands Johnny heroin and he pressures Whatsername into injecting with him. St. Jimmy sets the mood, Whatsername expresses her trust in Johnny, and Heather pledges her love to her newborn baby in "Last Night on Earth".

Will is increasingly neglectful as Heather tenderly commits herself to her baby's future. Heather has had enough of Will's pot-and-alcohol-fuelled apathy. Despite Will's protestations, she takes the baby and walks out ("Too Much, Too Soon"). At around the same time, lying in a bed in an army hospital ("Before the Lobotomy"), Tunny falls victim to the hopelessness he has seen during wartime and hallucinates. He and his nurse engage in a balletic aerial dance ("Extraordinary Girl"). He quickly falls in love with her. His hallucination disappears, and he's left with his fellow soldiers in agony ("Before the Lobotomy (Reprise)").

Back in the city, Johnny reveals the depth of his love for Whatsername as she sleeps ("When It's Time"). The temptation of drugs, however, is too great St. Jimmy forces Johnny to become increasingly erratic, and he eventually threatens Whatsername (and then himself) with a knife (in the LA version, it’s a gun, which he then turns on himself) ("Know Your Enemy"). Whatsername attempts to talk about Johnny's behaviour, while the Extraordinary Girl dresses Tunny's wounds and Heather and her baby are far away from Will who sits on the couch, once again alone ("21 Guns"). Johnny leaves a note for Whatsername, saying he has chosen St. Jimmy and drugs over her. Angry and done, Whatsername tells Johnny that he is not the "Jesus of Suburbia" and reveals that St. Jimmy is nothing more than "a figment of [his] father's rage and [his] mother's love" ("Letterbomb"). She leaves him and his unwillingness to acknowledge his issues behind.

Hurt by Whatsername's departure, Johnny longs for better days ahead, Tunny longs for home, and Will longs for all the things he's lost ("Wake Me Up When September Ends"). St. Jimmy appears and makes one last attempt to get Johnny's attention, but Johnny has made the conscious decision to end his self destruction, resulting in the metaphorical suicide of St. Jimmy ("The Death of St. Jimmy"). Johnny cleans up and gets a desk job but soon realises there is no place for him there or in the city ("East 12th Street"). Will, all alone with his television, bemoans his outcast state ("Nobody Likes You"). Will imagines Heather appearing with her new show-off rockstar boyfriend who is much cooler than Will ("Rock and Roll Girlfriend"). Sick of staying on his couch, Will heads to the 7-Eleven and, surprisingly, finds Johnny there. Johnny had sold his guitar for a bus ticket home. Tunny returns from the war zone (as an amputee) with the Extraordinary Girl. As Tunny introduces his friends to the Extraordinary Girl, Johnny becomes furious with him for leaving the group, but quickly forgives him and the three friends embrace. Heather and her rockstar boyfriend arrive in style. In an uneasy truce, she gives the baby to Will. Other friends show up to greet the three men they haven't seen in a year ("We're Coming Home Again"). One year later, Johnny laments that he lost the love of his life, but he accepts that he can live inside the struggle between rage and love that has defined his life. With this acceptance comes the possibility of hope ("Whatsername").

After the cast takes their bows, the curtain rises to reveal the entire company with guitars, and they perform "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)". Each performance of this song was recorded and given to the audience as a free digital download.

The principal cast members of the major productions of American Idiot.

Character Original Berkeley Cast Original Broadway Cast Original West End Cast
Johnny John Gallagher Jr. Aaron Sidwell
The main protagonist of the story. On his picaresque journey, he experiences nihilism, drug abuse, and lost love.
Tunny Matt Caplan Stark Sands Alexis Gerred
Johnny's friend. He accompanies Johnny to the city, but soon joins the military and is sent to war. Tunny suffers serious injuries and loses a leg. During his rehabilitation, he falls in love with his nurse, and she returns home with him.
Will Michael Esper Steve Rushton
Johnny's friend. He plans to leave town with the group until his girlfriend, Heather, reveals that she is pregnant with his child. Will stays at home in an alcohol and drug-infused depression.
St. Jimmy Tony Vincent, Billie Joe Armstrong Lucas Rush
An adventurous drug dealer who is eventually revealed to be a drug-addled manifestation of Johnny's id.
Whatsername Rebecca Naomi Jones Amelia Lily
An attractive young woman who accompanies Johnny on his journey. She eventually realises that their relationship is destructive and leaves him.
Heather Mary Faber Natasha Barnes
Will's pregnant girlfriend. She leaves Will and begins a relationship with a rock and roll boyfriend, eventually leading a life of glamour in stark contrast with Will's depression.
The Extraordinary Girl Christina Sajous Raquel Jones
Tunny's rehab nurse. The two fall in love.

In 2000, Green Day released the album Warning. Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau compared Warning to the band's previous album (Nimrod), and noted that "[Billie Joe Armstrong is] abandoning the first person. He's assuming fictional personas. And he's creating for himself the voice of a thinking left-liberal." Christgau also detected "a faint whiff" of the work of the theatrical composer/lyricist team of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. [1] The trend of writing in the third person came to fruition with Green Day's next studio album, American Idiot in 2004. The first new song Green Day wrote was the single "American Idiot".

One day, bassist Mike Dirnt was in the studio recording a 30-second song by himself. Armstrong decided that he wanted to do the same, and drummer Tré Cool followed suit. Armstrong recalled, "It started getting more serious as we tried to outdo one another. We kept connecting these little half-minute bits until we had something." This musical suite became "Homecoming", and the group subsequently wrote another suite, "Jesus of Suburbia".

Green Day made the record an album-long conceptual piece which was a response to the realities of the post-9/11 era. [2] The band took inspiration from the concept records by The Who, [3] sources in the musical theater repertoire like The Rocky Horror Show and West Side Story, and the concept album-come-stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar. [3] [4] Armstrong also said the band intended "that it would be staged or we'd create a film or something. we were thinking in terms that it kind of felt like scoring a movie." [4]

Director Michael Mayer heard the album and expressed an interest in adapting it for the stage. When he approached the band regarding a collaboration, they agreed to work with him. [5] The band also gave Mayer a wide latitude for his adaptation after seeing his earlier work in Spring Awakening. [4] Though additional songs were included from the Green Day catalogue, Mayer added very little dialogue to the show. He felt instead that the music and lyrics were expressive enough on their own, and even removed some of the dialogue that was part of the Berkeley production before the show moved to Broadway. [6]

Berkeley (2009) Edit

The musical premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Previews began on September 4, 2009 and the official opening was on September 15, 2009. [7] After becoming the top-grossing show in the theatre's history, the producers extended the limited run twice to November 15, 2009. [8] The cast included John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny, Matt Caplan as Tunny, Michael Esper as Will, Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername, Mary Faber as Heather, and Christina Sajous as the Extraordinary Girl. [9]

Broadway (2010–2011) Edit

The musical transferred to the St. James Theatre on Broadway, with previews beginning on March 24, 2010. It officially opened on April 20, 2010. [10] The cast for the Berkeley Repertory production was retained for the Broadway production, with the exception of Caplan, who was replaced by Stark Sands. [11] It was rumored that the show cost between $8 million and $10 million to produce. [12] After six months of performances, the show was "still a ways off from possibly turning a profit" according to a The New York Times report. [12] As a part of the promotion for the show, the cast performed at the Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010 with Green Day. [11]

Tom Kitt was the music supervisor and orchestrator for both the Berkeley and Broadway productions. [13] The lead producers for the show were Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce. [14] Vivek Tiwary was another producer. [15] The creative team for the show was largely the same as for the musical adaptation of Spring Awakening: director Michael Mayer, scenic designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Kevin Adams. [16] Steven Hoggett was the choreographer, [17] Andrea Lauer was the costume designer and Brian Ronan was the sound designer. [18] [19]

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong played the role of St. Jimmy from September 28 to October 3, 2010. [12] Ticket sales for the week Armstrong performed were up 77%, average ticket prices increased 22%, and gross sales increased 127% from the previous week's totals. [20] [21] [22] The singer-songwriter filled in for Tony Vincent who took time off for personal matters. [12] [23] Armstrong made another 50 appearances as St. Jimmy between January 1 and February 27, 2011. [24] [25] [26] Melissa Etheridge played the part of St. Jimmy on Broadway from February 1–6, 2011, and Davey Havok took the role from March 1–15, 2011. [27] [28]

Following Armstrong's departure from the cast, the show experienced weak sales. [29] The Broadway production closed on April 24, 2011 after 27 previews and 421 performances. Armstrong returned to the role of St. Jimmy for the final three weeks. [30] The show's cast recording won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. [31]

International Tour (2011–2014) Edit

American Idiot toured North America beginning on December 28, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The original national tour cast included Van Hughes reprising his role as Johnny, Jake Epstein as Will, Scott J. Campbell as Tunny, Leslie McDonel as Heather, Gabrielle McClinton as Whatsername, [32] Nicci Claspell as The Extraordinary Girl, and Broadway alumnus Joshua Kobak as St. Jimmy. [33] The tour closed on July 8, 2012, at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, California. [34] A non-Equity second U.S. tour launched in the late summer of 2012. [ citation needed ]

A UK and Ireland tour visited Manchester, Southampton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Birmingham and London later in 2012. [35] The cast included Alex Nee as Johnny, Casey O'Farrell as Will, Thomas Hettrick as Tunny, Kennedy Caughell as Heather, Alyssa DiPalma as Whatsername, Jenna Rubaii as The Extraordinary Girl, and Trent Saunders as St. Jimmy. [36] It started on October 9, 2012 in Southampton and ended on December 16, 2012 at HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London. [37] A second US tour began performances in Norfolk, Virginia on January 25, 2013 with the UK touring cast. It ended Las Vegas, Nevada on June 16, 2013.

On August 7, 2013, American Idiot made its debut in Tokyo, Japan, and a few weeks later on September 5, it made its South Korean debut in Seoul. Sean Michael Murray took over the role of Johnny, Mariah MacFarlane took over as Heather, and Daniel C. Jackson took over as St. Jimmy.

A non-Equity third US national tour cast included Jared Nepute as Johnny, Casey O'Farrell as Will, Dan Tracy as Tunny, Mariah MacFarlane as Heather, Olivia Puckett as Whatsername, Taylor Jones as Extraordinary Girl, and Daniel C. Jackson as St. Jimmy. [38] On January 16, 2014, Carson Higgins, who had previously been a part of the previous non-equity/UK tour, took over the role of St. Jimmy, after Daniel C. Jackson left the show. [39] The tour ended on May 25, 2014. [ citation needed ]

Malmö (2015) Edit

American Idiot ' s Scandinavian premiere at the Malmö Opera from February to April 2015 was a new production of the musical. It was the first official production not to be directed by Michael Mayer. The songs were performed in English but the dialogue was spoken in Swedish. [40]

West End (2015, 2016) Edit

A production opened in 2015 at the Arts Theatre in the West End. The cast includes Amelia Lily as Whatsername, Aaron Sidwell as Johnny, Alexis Gerred as Tunny, Steve Rushton as Will and Lucas Rush as St. Jimmy [41] The show was produced by Sell a Door Theatre Company and directed and Choreographed by Racky Plews [42]

It was announced in April 2016 that the production would return to the Arts Theatre for the summer of 2016 after a UK tour concluding in Belfast in early July 2016. [43] Matt Thorpe played Johnny in the early stages of the tour until Newton Faulkner became available. In the West End, Newton Faulkner continued to play Johnny. Matt Thorpe made a few further guest appearances as Johnny before taking over the role of Will from Steve Rushton.

San Jose (2016) Edit

A production was completed in San Jose by City Lights Theatre Company. It ran from July 14 to August 21, but was extended by an extra week. [44]

Vancouver (2016) Edit

A production by Fighting Chance Productions ran from July 28 to August 27 alongside the theatre company's production of Heathers at Granville Island's Waterfront Theatre. This was the Western Canadian premiere of American Idiot. [45]

Brisbane (2017) Edit

American Idiot had its Australian debut at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre from February 23 to March 12. [46] The role of St. Jimmy was shared between Australian rock musicians Chris Cheney (The Living End), and Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon). [47]

Buenos Aires (2017) Edit

A production will open in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 14, 2017 through the course of eight weeks. [ needs update ] All the songs from the musical will be adapted to Spanish with a few selected dates on its original language.

Copenhagen (2017 & 2021) Edit

The first production in Copenhagen, Denmark opened on September 15, 2017. It played at legendary concert venue Den Graa Hal at Christiania, which was also the first concert venue Green Day performed in Copenhagne in the 1990's. A revival of the show will open 26 June 2021 at the iconic Østre Gasværk Teater as one of the first musical theatre productions to play in Denmark after lockdown due to the corona pandemic. [48] [ needs update ]

Frankfurt (2018) Edit

On January 17, 2018, the first German production of American Idiot opened at the renowned rock concert venue Batschkapp in Frankfurt. The production, which is mounted by the startup company Off-Musical Frankfurt, is directed by Thomas Helmut Heep. The creative team also consists of Ludwig Mond (choreographer) and Dean Wilmington (musical director). The lyrics were translated into German by Titus Hoffmann. [49] The production garnered positive reviews, with Jens Alsbach from Musicalzentrale saying that it "sets new standards for musical theatre in Germany." [50]

Australian Tour (2018) Edit

Following the success of the musical's 2017 run in Brisbane, it returned for a second season in 2018, touring around Australia. Performances took place in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, before returning to Brisbane, and then ending in Darwin. The role of St. Jimmy was shared between Australian rock musicians Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus) [51] and Adalita Srsen (Magic Dirt). [52]

Rio de Janeiro (TBA) Edit

A production will open in Rio de Janeiro. First announced in 2017, it currently has no release date. [53] [ needs update ]

São Paulo (TBA) Edit

A production was expected to debut in São Paulo in the second half of 2018. [54] [ needs update ]

Morristown (2019) Edit

From February 8 through February 17, Encore Theatrical Company presented a limited 6 show engagement the production was hailed by audiences and critics alike and featured aerial sequences staged by Jason Whicker (aerial choreographer from the original Berkeley Rep production) and On the Fly Productions. [55]

UK (2019) Edit

The 10th anniversary tour was planned for the United Kingdom. [56] The cast includes Tom Milner as Johnny, Joshua Dowen as Tunny, Samuel Pope as Will, Luke Friend as St. Jimmy, Sam Lavery as Whatsername. [57] The tour wrapped on July 14, 2019. [ citation needed ]

The show features all of the songs from the album American Idiot, some b-sides from the American Idiot and 21 Guns single's and a few of the songs from Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown. [58] The show also features an onstage band. [59]

  • "American Idiot" – Company
  • "Jesus of Suburbia"
    • "Jesus of Suburbia" – Johnny and Will
    • "City of the Damned" – Tunny, Johnny, Will, & Company
    • "I Don't Care" – Johnny, Will, Tunny, & Company
    • "Dearly Beloved" – Heather & Men
    • "Tales of Another Broken Home" – Johnny, Will, Tunny, Heather, & Company
    • "The Death of St. Jimmy" – St. Jimmy & Johnny
    • "East 12th St." – Johnny, Theo, Gerard, & Company
    • "Nobody Likes You" – Will & Company
    • "Rock and Roll Girlfriend" – Heather, Will, & Company
    • "We're Coming Home Again" – Johnny, Tunny, Will, & Company

    Green Day re-released the single "21 Guns" with the musical cast on Spinner.com on December 3, 2009. [60] This version features Billie Joe Armstrong, together with Christina Sajous, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Mary Faber, and Stark Sands, with back-up from the rest of American Idiot cast. Another version was released with John Gallagher Jr., Michael Esper, and Sands singing the parts that Armstrong had previously sung. Green Day and the cast of the musical also performed the song at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. [61]

    The original cast recording of the musical was released on April 20, 2010. [62] The cast album includes all the songs featured in the musical plus a brand new recording of "When It's Time" by Green Day. The album won Best Musical Show Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. [31]

    Reviews for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre production were mixed. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times called the show "kinetically entertaining in a way that intentionally reflects the shallow, media-saturated culture the album rails against". [63] Karen D'Souza of San Jose Mercury News called the production "a thrashing collage of songs fused together with hypnotic movement and eye-popping visuals" and thought the show "as compelling as it is abstract [and] channels the grungy spirit of punk while also plucking at the heartstrings." [64] However, Jim Harrington of the Oakland Tribune compared the show unfavorably to the original album, writing: "[what] once was a fine Gouda, has been prepackaged as Velveeta", and continued sarcastically, "In other words, it should do big business on Broadway." [65] Charles Isherwood of The New York Times commented that the show contained "characters who lack much in the way of emotional depth or specificity, and plotlines that are simple to the point of crudity" but also felt that "the show possesses a stimulating energy and a vision of wasted youth that holds us in its grip." [66]

    Isherwood's review for the Broadway production was enthusiastic. He called the show "a pulsating portrait of wasted youth that invokes all the standard genre conventions. only to transcend them through the power of its music and the artistry of its execution, the show is as invigorating and ultimately as moving as anything I've seen on Broadway this season. Or maybe for a few seasons past." [67] Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald enjoyed the premise of the show but found that "the music and message suffer in a setting where the audience is politely, soberly seated". [68] Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press found the show to be "visually striking [and] musically adventurous", but noted that "the show has the barest wisp of a story and minimal character development". [69] Paul Kolnik in USA Today enjoyed the contradiction that Green Day's "massively popular, starkly disenchanted album . would be the feel-good musical of the season". [70] Time magazine's Richard Zoglin opined that the score "is as pure a specimen of contemporary punk rock as Broadway has yet encountered [yet] there's enough variety. Where the show fall short is as a fully developed narrative." He concluded that "American Idiot, despite its earnest huffing and puffing, remains little more than an annotated rock concert. Still, [it] deserves at least two cheers – for its irresistible musical energy and for opening fresh vistas for that odd couple, rock and Broadway." [71] Peter Travers from Rolling Stone wrote, "Though American Idiot carries echoes of such rock musicals as Tommy, Hair, Rent and Spring Awakening, it cuts its own path to the heart. You won't know what hit you. American Idiot knows no limits — it's a global knockout." [72]

    Paul Taylor's review in The Independent hails American Idiot as "the Hair of its generation". [73] Yet, as noted by Harry Lou in The Indianapolis Business Journal, "[i]ts female characters are sketched even lighter than the main men are". [74] Although intended to empower the disillusioned youth of early 21st century America, American Idiot excludes the female voice from this discourse. [75] This disempowering of the female is evident in the fact that the female leads are denied identity, let alone agency. [76] Just one of the three is given a name, and all represent a stereotypical form of 'woman' the mother, the artistic muse, and the object of the voyeuristic male gaze. [77]

    Reviews of the West End production were generally positive. Rachel Ward of The Telegraph gave it four out of five stars, calling "90 minutes of uninterrupted chaos". [78] Kate Stanbury from Official London Theatre summarized, "Chaotic, intense and pulsating with legendary Green Day hits, a trip to this Tony Award-winning musical may just give you the time of your life." [79] Paul Taylor of The Independent also gave four out of five stars, praising director and choreographer Racky Plews for making "a sharp-witted version that throbs with some of the energy of a rock gig (if minus the feeling of unpredictability) while being shrewdly calibrated to suit the intimacy of the 350-seater Arts Theatre." [80]

    American Idiot won a total of five awards. At a meeting of the Tony Administration Committee on April 30, 2010, the score of American Idiot was deemed ineligible for a Tony Award for Best Original Score nomination because less than 50% of it was written for the stage production. [81]

    Broadway production Edit

    Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
    2010 Drama League Awards Distinguished Production of a Musical Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer (book) Billie Joe Armstrong (lyrics) Green Day (music) Nominated [82]
    Distinguished Performance John Gallagher Jr. Nominated
    Tony Vincent Nominated
    Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated [83] [84]
    Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical) Kevin Adams Won
    Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Musical Nominated [85] [86]
    Outstanding Director of a Musical Michael Mayer Won
    Outstanding Orchestrations Tom Kitt Nominated
    Tony Awards Best Musical Nominated [87]
    Best Scenic Design of a Musical Christine Jones Won
    Best Lighting Design of a Musical Kevin Adams Won
    2011 Grammy Awards Best Musical Show Album Billie Joe Armstrong (producer) Chris Dugan & Chris Lord-Alge (engineers/mixers) Won [31]

    Brisbane production Edit

    Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
    2017 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Phoebe Panaretos Nominated [88]
    Best Lighting Design Matt Marshall Nominated

    The following is a month-by-month breakdown of sales, attendance, and performance data for the production at the 1,709-capacity St. James Theatre. [89]

    Time period Attendance Gross sales Average Paid Admission Percent of Capacity References
    March 24 – April 4, 2010 (12 previews) 16,879 $1,312,033 $77.73 82.3% [90] [91]
    April 5 – May 2, 2010 (14 previews, 16 performances) 38,195 $2,591,496 $67.85 74.5% [92] [93] [94] [95]
    May 3 – June 6, 2010 (40 performances) 47,371 $3,898,058 $82.29 69.3% [96] [97] [98] [99] [100]
    June 7 – July 4, 2010 (31 performances) 36,876 $3,082,501 $83.59 69.6% [101] [102] [103] [104]
    July 5 – August 1, 2010 (32 performances) 39,793 $3,199,187 $80.40 72.8% [105] [106] [107] [108]
    August 2 – September 5, 2010 (40 performances) 45,125 $3,535,540 $78.35 66.0% [109] [110] [111] [112] [113]
    September 6 – October 3, 2010 (31 performances) 36,363 $2,491,234 $68.51 68.6% [21] [114] [115] [116]
    October 4 – 31, 2010 (32 performances) 28,202 $1,983,404 $70.33 51.6% [117] [118] [119] [120]
    November 1 – December 5, 2010 (40 performances) 33,334 $2,452,032 $73.56 48.8% [121] [122] [123] [124] [125]
    December 6, 2010 – January 2, 2011 (32 performances) 33,694 $2,694,839 $79.98 61.6% [126] [127] [128] [129]
    January 3 – February 6, 2011 (40 performances) 47,347 $3,912,616 $82.64 69.3% [130] [131] [132] [133] [134]
    February 7 – March 6, 2011 (32 performances) 43,148 $3,818,799 $88.50 78.9% [135] [136] [137] [138]
    March 7 – April 3, 2011 (32 performances) 32,498 $1,912,847 $58.86 59.4% [139] [140] [141] [142]
    April 4–24, 2011 (24 performances) 31,898 $2,913,465 $91.34 77.8% [143] [144] [145]
    Totals
    422 performances, 26 previews 510,723 $39,798,051 $77.92 66.7%

    On January 23, 2013, it was announced that a documentary showing Armstrong's journey from punk rock to Broadway was to be released. [146] Called Broadway Idiot and showing a lot of behind-the-scenes of the musical production, the movie was directed by Doug Hamilton, veteran television journalist for CBS News' 60 Minutes and PBS documentaries such as Nova, Frontline and American Masters. A trailer was released on January 30, 2013. [147] The documentary premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 15, 2013. [148] On October 11, 2013, it was released in some theaters and on video on demand by FilmBuff. [149]

    Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 65% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 20 reviews, with an average score of 5.8/10. [150] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 51 (citing "mixed or average reviews") based on 14 reviews. [151]

    In April 2011, production company Playtone optioned the musical to develop a film version, and Universal Pictures began initial negotiations to distribute it. Michael Mayer, who directed the Broadway production, was named as director. Dustin Lance Black was initially hired to adapt the musical. [152] Billie Joe Armstrong was asked to star as St. Jimmy, and the film was proposed for a 2013 release. [153] Armstrong later posted on his Twitter account that he had not "totally committed" to the role but was interested in it. [154]

    In July 2013, at a screening of Broadway Idiot, Mayer reported that the film adaptation was still happening, but production had not been scheduled due to "Hollywood bullshit". [155] In March 2014, playwright Rolin Jones told the Hartford Courant that he was writing a new screenplay for the film. Comparing it to the musical, Jones said, "The idea is to get it a little dirtier and a little nastier and translate it into visual terms. There's not going to be a lot of dialogue and it probably should be a little shorter, too. After that, it just takes its 'movie time' in getting done". He expected to finish the script by the end of the month. [156]

    In October 2016, in an interview with NME, Armstrong revealed that the film was now being made at HBO and the script was getting rewrites. He confirmed he would reprise his Broadway role as St. Jimmy. [157] In November 2016, Armstrong stated that the film was "going to be a lot different from the musical. It's kind of, more surreal but I think there's going to be parts of it that might offend people – which is good. I think it's a good time to offend people. I think there's just going to be a lot of imagery that we couldn't pull off in the musical in the stage version. You know, I don't want to give away too much, but it will be shocking in a way which makes you think." [158]

    In February 2020, Billie Joe Armstrong revealed to NME that plans for a film adaptation of the stage musical had been "pretty much scrapped", without providing any more details as to the reason. [159]


    ‘Hair’: The Broadway musical through the years

    “Hair,” the rock musical centered on a tribe of long-haired hippies resisting conscription into the Vietnam War, premiered off-Broadway in 1967. A year later, the war comedy-drama opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre. The Biltmore cast is pictured here. (Bettmann/UPI)

    Directed by Tom O’Horgan and choreographed by Julie Arenal, the Broadway production of “Hair” starred Steve Curry, left, and Lynn Kellogg. After a four-year run and 1,750 performances, “Hair” closed in 1972. (Dagmar Ho / Associated Press)

    Six months after the Broadway version of “Hair,” a West Coast version played at the Aquarius Theatre in Los Angeles. Some of the original characters reprised their roles in the play, including coauthor James Rado, center. Later, San Francisco and Chicago also saw “Hair” runs. (Los Angeles Times)

    Looked at as daring and fresh, “Hair” relied on themes of pacifism, drug use and sexual freedom. A nude scene, worked into some productions and taken out of others, sparked controversy but also praise. (Martha Swope / ThirteenWNET New York)

    Several states opposed the production of “Hair” because of that nude scene, upon which a pair of men undress to irritate police during an informal antiwar gathering. As such, several lawsuits emerged, including the one pictured here over a Griffith Park production in L.A. (Los Angeles Times)

    Grammy winner and composer Galt MacDermot wrote the first score in three weeks, including songs like “I Got Life”, “Ain’t Got No” and “Where Do I Go.” Normally a production carries less than a dozen songs per act, but “Hair” boasted at least 30 songs per act. (J. Thompson / Aquarius Theater)

    In addition to American productions of “Hair,” like this one at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles, the hit musical cropped up internationally in countries including Germany, Mexico and New Zealand. (J. Thompson / Aquarius Theater)

    Eleven years after its original production, “Hair” was turned into a movie, directed by Milos Forman. The film received a Golden Globe nomination for best picture. Differences between the play and the film included plot and song changes. (United Artists)

    Annie Golden and Treat Williams starred in Milos Forman’s film adaptation. Williams earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role as George Berger, the leader of the free-spirited hippies. (United Artists)

    The film adaptation did not please the writers of “Hair,” Gerome Ragni and James Rado, as well as the composer, Galt MacDermot. In the writers’ view, the movie did not accurately portray hippies, nor did it establish their connection to the peace movement. (United Artists)

    Even as the century turned, “Hair” continued to be a powerful force. In 2001, the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles mounted a production of the musical. (Los Angeles Times)

    “Hair” returned to Broadway in its 2009 revival, directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Karole Armitage. The reviews were primarily positive. Today, “Hair” is regarded as a game changer on Broadway. (Joan Marcus)


    Contents

    Act One Edit

    The girls of UCLA's sorority Delta Nu celebrate the expected engagement of their sorority president, Elle Woods, to her boyfriend Warner Huntington III, who is expected to propose that night. Led by Margot, Serena and Pilar, the girls help Elle find the perfect dress for the occasion ("Omigod You Guys"). However, when Elle goes on her dinner date with Warner, he tells her that he needs someone more serious to achieve his dream of getting a seat in the Senate, and breaks up with her ("Serious").

    Elle is devastated and stays in her room for twelve days ("Daughter Of Delta Nu"), but decides to chase Warner to Harvard Law School to prove that she can be serious. With help from Delta Nu sister Kate, Elle studies for the LSATS. Instead of writing a personal essay, Elle bursts into the Harvard admission offices backed by a squad of cheerleaders. She is accepted after revealing she is motivated by love ("What You Want").

    Having been granted acceptance to Harvard, Elle's highly-achieved classmates disapprove of her attire and personality, and the only person who is willing to help her is law-teaching assistant Emmett Forrest ("The Harvard Variations"). However, he cannot protect her in class from the bloodthirsty Professor Callahan ("Blood In The Water"). Callahan kicks the under-prepared Elle out of class at the suggestion of her classmate Vivienne Kensington, who happens to be Warner's new girlfriend. This "tragedy" summons the apparitions of the sisters of Delta Nu, who, acting as a Greek chorus visible and audible only to Elle, encourage her to stay positive ("Positive").

    Elle, believing that being blonde is the problem, decides to become a brunette. She heads to the Hair Affair salon where she meets beautician Paulette, who, after counselling Elle that all bad hair decisions are motivated by love, talks to Elle of her dreams of meeting a handsome Irishman ("Ireland"), and encourages her not to give up or downplay her personal qualities. At the salon, Vivienne, who is discussing a party planned for next Friday, unexpectedly gives Elle an invitation, telling her it is a costume party. Paulette sends Elle off with a costume for the party with lyrics of encouragement ("Ireland (Reprise)").

    Walking into the party as a Playboy Bunny, Elle soon realizes that she was tricked by Vivienne, as no one else is wearing a costume. Despite this, she still seeks out Warner in an effort to win him back, but he remains unimpressed ("Serious (Reprise)"). Elle runs from the party, only to meet Emmett, who struggles to understand Elle's love problems. He has Elle assess her priorities until she realizes it is her obsession with Warner that keeps her from earning his respect ("Chip On My Shoulder"). Freed from her need to please Warner, she defeats him in a classroom debate. Elle then helps Paulette get her dog back from her ex-boyfriend, using legal jargon and demonstrating that she is beginning to understand law.

    Along with Enid Hoopes, Warner and Vivienne win two of Callahan's coveted internship positions, and Warner proposes to Vivienne on the spot right in front of Elle. Vivienne accepts with a kiss. Elle is devastated, but Emmett shows her the internship list, revealing Elle got an internship position as well. Elle realizes that she does not need a man to feel accepted in the world, and that all she needs is to believe in herself. Overjoyed, she celebrates, disses Warner, calls her mother to tell her the news and eagerly anticipates the trial ("So Much Better").

    Act Two Edit

    Act Two begins with fitness queen Brooke Wyndham and her fitness team's workout video, which is being viewed by Elle, Callahan, Emmett, Vivienne, Warner, and Enid ("Whipped Into Shape"). Callahan tells the legal team that Brooke is accused of murdering her billionaire husband. At the jail, the legal team is unable to get Brooke to tell them her alibi and she refuses to plead guilty. Upon learning that they were both Delta Nu sisters, Brooke then privately tells Elle her alibi: Brooke was getting liposuction, which, if the public discovered, could destroy her fitness empire. She makes Elle promise not to tell anyone ("Delta Nu Nu Nu"). Because of Elle's loyalty to her client and refusal to state the alibi, Elle, and consequently Emmett, are shunned by the group. To cheer Emmett up and to increase his chances of impressing Callahan, Elle gives him a makeover ("Take It Like A Man").

    Back at the salon, Elle is getting a manicure when Kyle, a sexy UPS courier, walks into the salon to deliver a package to Paulette. Paulette is in awe of Kyle, but her low self-confidence prevents her from making a move. When he leaves, Pilar, Serena, and Margot are summoned by Paulette's amazing "Bend and Snap" when picking up the package. The sorority girls tell Paulette to use the "Bend and Snap" dance move on Kyle to turn him on, but when she does, she accidentally breaks his nose ("Bend and Snap").

    At the trial, Brooke's pool boy Nikos claims to have been having an affair with Brooke, giving her a motive for murdering her husband. After doing the Bend and Snap in front of Nikos and getting no response, Elle suspects that Nikos is gay, although Callahan and her teammates are not convinced. Her colleagues posit that his perceived flamboyance might just be a cultural difference as Nikos is European. Emmett successfully makes Nikos slip and state that his boyfriend's name is Carlos, although Nikos claims that he misunderstood "boyfriend" for "best friend". Carlos, fed up with the closeted nature of his gay boyfriend, appears from the gallery and proclaims Nikos's homosexuality. Nikos confesses that he is indeed gay and European ("There! Right There! (Gay or European?)").

    Later that night in Callahan's office, the interns celebrate Elle's skill. Warner finds problems with calling a finely tuned awareness of homosexuality a legal victory. Callahan, annoyed with Warner's behavior, sends Warner out of the room to fetch a coffee. Callahan dismisses Emmett and the other interns but requests Elle to remain for a few moments. Callahan forcibly kisses Elle, who slaps him. In turn, Callahan fires her. Warner and Vivienne both see the kiss through the door of the room. Warner turns away in anger, leaving Vivienne to be the only one to witness the slap. After Callahan leaves, Warner re-enters the office and mocks Elle, but Vivienne tells him to shut up and they both leave. A defeated Elle prepares to go home, despite Emmett asking her to stay, finally realizing that he is in love with her ("Legally Blonde").

    Elle heads to the Hair Affair to say goodbye to Paulette, but before she can leave, Vivienne and Enid convince Elle otherwise. Elle discards her lawyerly navy suit, dons a pink dress and leads a parade back to the courtroom. They meet Kyle on the way, who has taken a liking to Paulette, and reveals himself to be Irish, prompting everyone present to Irish dance. Back at the trial, Brooke fires Callahan and hires Elle ("Legally Blonde Remix"). Brooke's stepdaughter Chutney goes to the witness stand and her testimony is damning, stating after she got out of the shower she saw Brooke covered in her father's blood. After Chutney states she received a perm the day of the murder, Elle realizes a flaw in Chutney's alibi and suggests that the entire court should be moved to the scene of the crime—the bathroom where the murder took place ("Scene of the Crime"). As a demonstration, Elle asks Paulette to give Enid a perm and asks Enid to step into the shower upon entering the crime scene. Relying on her knowledge of hair maintenance, Elle's demonstration is successful as Enid walks out of the shower with completely flattened hair—revealing that Chutney could not have possibly showered immediately after getting a perm because her perm was still intact. Under Elle's intense questioning, Chutney confesses that she killed her father, thinking that it was Brooke ("Omigod You Guys (Reprise)"). Chutney is arrested and Brooke is set free.

    Warner proposes to Elle, having been dumped by Vivienne. Elle gently refuses, claiming to have been changed by the experience. Three years later, Elle ends up as the valedictorian of her class. Paulette tells the audience that Elle is not one to brag about her valedictorian status, so she decided to allow Paulette to play "Where Are They Now" during her speech. Paulette says that Enid practices family law, Vivienne is training for the Peace Corps, and Warner dropped out to pursue a modeling career. Callahan ran for governor but was defeated, and his wife hired Emmett to handle their divorce. Paulette married Kyle, had two kids and is pregnant with a third. They live in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Paulette bought a new salon [a] ("Find My Way"). At the end of the graduation, Elle proposes to Emmett, and Emmett accepts ("Finale").

    - Not featured on Original Broadway Cast Recording

    Act I Edit

    • "Omigod You Guys" – Elle, Serena, Margot, Pilar, Salesgirls, and Delta Nu's
    • "Serious" – Warner and Elle
    • "Daughter of Delta Nu" – Serena, Margot, Pilar and Delta Nu's †
    • "What You Want" – Elle, Serena, Margot, Pilar, Kate, Elle's Parents, Grandmaster Chad and Company
    • "The Harvard Variations" – Emmett, Aaron, Enid, Padamadan and Harvard Students
    • "Blood in the Water" – Callahan, Chad, Enid, Elle, Vivienne and Harvard Students
    • "Positive" – Elle, Serena, Margot, Pilar and Greek Chorus
    • "Ireland" – Paulette
    • "Ireland" (Reprise) – Paulette
    • "Serious" (Reprise) – Elle and Warner
    • "Chip On My Shoulder" – Elle, Emmett, Greek Chorus
    • "Run Rufus Run/Elle Reflects"- Elle, Emmett †
    • "So Much Better" – Elle, Greek Chorus and Company

    Act II Edit

    • "Whipped into Shape" – Brooke, Callahan and Company
    • "Delta Nu Nu Nu" – Elle and Brooke †
    • "Take It Like a Man" – Elle, Emmett and Salespeople
    • "Kyle the Magnificent" – Kyle
    • "Bend and Snap" – Elle, Paulette, Serena, Margot, Pilar, hairdressers, Kyle, and Company
    • "There! Right There!" – Elle, Callahan, Emmett, Brooke, Vivienne, Warner, Enid, Judge, Nikos, Carlos and Company
    • "Legally Blonde" – Elle and Emmett
    • "Legally Blonde Remix" – Vivienne, Elle, Enid, Elle's Parents, Margot, Serena, Pilar, Brooke and Company
    • "Scene of the Crime" – Elle, Judge, Serena, Margot, Pilar and Company †
    • "Omigod You Guys (Remix)" – Elle, Brooke, Margot, Serena, Pilar, Judge, and Company
    • "Find My Way/Finale" – Elle, Paulette, Emmett and Company

    During its San Francisco run, the musical included a song called "Love and War", but during its transfer to Broadway, the song was replaced with what is now "Positive". [3] Another predecessor to "Positive" was "Beacon of Positivity". [4]

    During the musical's workshop stage, the song "Good Boy" existed in what would go on to become "Ireland"'s place in the musical. [5] In the song, Paulette and Elle bond over the idea that men are like dogs and should therefore be treated as such.

    "Bows" is featured as an iTunes bonus track on the UK iTunes on the Live London Cast Recording but not featured on the Broadway recording. "Kyle the Magnificent" is also a bonus track on the Live London Cast Recording after "Take It Like a Man", which is where it is in the show. On the Broadway Cast Recording, it is a hidden track at the end of "Find My Way/Finale".

    The licensed orchestration follows the orchestration that was used in the West End production: three keyboards, bass, guitar, drums, percussion, two woodwind parts, two trumpets, trombone, and solo violin. The first keyboard part is played by the conductor. The bass part doubles on electric bass, double bass, fretless bass, and 5-string bass. The guitar doubles on electric, acoustic, nylon-string, Hollow Body archtop and 12-string guitars, as well as mandolin. The first woodwind part doubles on alto sax, flute, piccolo, clarinet, oboe (optional), and English horn (optional) the second part doubles on flute, clarinet, and baritone sax. Both trumpets double on flugelhorn and the trombone doubles on tenor and bass trombones.

    This orchestration was originally used for the first United States national tour, without the violin and with slightly different reed doublings. The first reed player doubled on alto sax, clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe (optional), and English horn (optional) the second player doubled on flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone sax, and pennywhistle.

    In addition to the licensed orchestration, the original Broadway production also had a French horn part, a viola and cello part, a second guitar, and had three woodwind parts instead of two. The first reed part doubled on alto sax, clarinet, flute, piccolo, and pennywhistle the second part doubled on clarinet, flute, oboe, English horn, and tenor sax the third doubled on flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, and baritone sax.

    Broadway (2007–2008) Edit

    Before going to Broadway, Legally Blonde did a short tryout at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre from January 23 to February 25, 2007, with an official opening on February 5. [6] Legally Blonde later opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on April 29, 2007, following previews which began on April 3. The production was directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, with set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, sound design by Acme Sound Partners, and lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller. The original Broadway cast included Laura Bell Bundy in the lead role of Elle Woods and featured Christian Borle, Orfeh, and Michael Rupert. [7] The show received mixed reviews and was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Leading Actress in a Musical, but did not win any. [8]

    The musical was filmed for television in front of a live audience on September 18, 2007, as well as two other dates where it was filmed without an audience. The three performances edited together were broadcast on MTV on October 13 and 14, 2007, with subsequent air dates on November 3 and 14, 2007. [9] MTV's involvement with the musical continued with a reality show program called Legally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods, which aimed to cast the next actress to play Elle Woods on Broadway, replacing Laura Bell Bundy. The show was hosted by Haylie Duff and premiered on June 2, 2008, on MTV. [10] The show ran for eight episodes. The focus was on the preparation and coaching of the contestants, as well as the auditions themselves. The competition was won by Bailey Hanks, age 20, from Anderson, South Carolina. [11] The results were first aired on July 21, 2008, on MTV, [12] and Hanks's debut as Elle Woods was on July 23. [11] The runner-up, Autumn Hurlbert, also debuted on Broadway in this show as a sorority sister in Delta Nu, as well as serving as Hanks's understudy. [13]

    The production closed on October 19, 2008, after playing 30 previews and 595 regular performances. The run was considered a financial disappointment [1] and failed to fully recoup its investment. [14]

    North American tours Edit

    The first national tour started on September 21, 2008. [15] Becky Gulsvig, who appeared in the ensemble of the original Broadway cast and understudied the role of Elle Woods, was featured as Elle Woods. [16] Lauren Ashley Zakrin and Rhiannon Hansen, both finalists of the MTV reality show, appeared in the national tour. [15] The original tour closed on August 15, 2010, in Vienna, Virginia, at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

    A non-Equity tour launched in Jackson, Mississippi, on September 21, 2010. Nikki Bohne led the cast as Elle Woods, with Kahlil Joseph as Professor Callahan. [17] The tour closed on May 15, 2011, at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. [18]

    West End (2009–2012) Edit

    The West End production opened at the Savoy Theatre on January 13, 2010, following previews from December 5, 2009. [19] [20] The original London cast included Sheridan Smith in the lead role of Elle Woods, with Duncan James, Alex Gaumond, Jill Halfpenny and Peter Davison. [21] In the London production, the lyrics to “Ireland” were changed. [22]

    In October 2009, Sheridan Smith, with other cast members, recorded a pop video to the song "So Much Better". [23] The West End cast of Legally Blonde performed a medley from the show at the BBC Television Centre on November 19, 2009, during the Children in Need telethon. [24]

    Legally Blonde was the first West End show to offer a ticket lottery. The trend is popular on Broadway but had never been used for a West End production. [25] The show had taken £2 million in advance sales before it officially opened. [26] It extended its booking period from the earlier date of October 2011 until March 31, 2012.

    Susan McFadden replaced Sheridan Smith as Elle on January 10, 2011. McFadden was later replaced by Carley Stenson on July 11, 2011. Other notable replacements included Richard Fleeshman and Ben Freeman as Warner, Denise van Outen and Natalie Casey as Paulette, Lee Mead and Stephen Ashfield as Emmett, Carley Stenson as Margot, and Siobhan Dillon as Vivienne. [27]

    The show closed in London on April 7, 2012, [28] [29] after 974 performances, significantly more than it played on Broadway.

    First national UK tour Edit

    The first UK tour began on July 8, 2011, at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. The cast included Faye Brooks as Elle, Dave Willetts as Professor Callahan, and Iwan Lewis as Emmett. Liz McClarnon initially played Paulette, followed by Claire Sweeney. [30]

    Following Willets, Professor Callahan was played by Matthew Kelly, and later Les Dennis, alongside Niki Evans as Paulette. Amy Lennox covered as Elle for the Aberdeen run of the tour, with Stephen Ashfield briefly reprising his role as Emmett just weeks after leaving the show in London. On July 17, 2012, Jennifer Ellison replaced Niki Evans as Paulette, and Gareth Gates replaced Ray Quinn as Warner.

    The final show of the UK tour was performed at the New Wimbledon Theatre on October 6, 2012.

    Australian production 2012 Edit

    The Australian production began previews in September 2012 at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney, before opening on October 4, 2012.

    Lucy Durack played Elle Woods with Rob Mills as Warner, David Harris as Emmett, Erika Heynatz as Brooke Wyndham, and Helen Dallimore as Paulette, [ citation needed ] with Cameron Daddo returning to the Australian stage for the first time in 20 years to play Professor Callahan. [31]

    The production concluded its run at Melbourne's Princess Theatre on July 14, 2013. [32] The show won five Helpmann Awards, including Best Musical. [33]

    International productions Edit

    In Paris, France, a French-language production opened on May 17, 2012, at Le Palace. [42] The show was a commercial flop and closed on June 10, 2012, after only three weeks because of the lack of spectators. [43]

    A Hebrew-language production of Legally Blonde was planned to premiere in Israel in February 2020. [44] The cast included Ania Bukstein as Elle Woods, Oz Zehavi as Emmett, Sassi Keshet as Professor Callahan, Hana Laszlo as Paulette, and Mei Finegold as Brooke.

    Further UK productions Edit

    In April and May 2016, a production was presented at the Curve Theatre, Leicester. The cast included X-Factor finalist Lucie Jones cast as Elle Woods, Ian Kelsey as Callahan, Tupele Dorgu as Paulette, Jon Robyns as Emmett, and Danny Mac as Warner.

    Second national UK tour Edit

    Throughout 2017 and 2018, the second national UK tour of Legally Blonde performed with a new cast. The first performance was at the Churchill Theatre from September 14 to 23, 2017, and its final performance was at the Palace Theatre on June 30, 2018. The cast included Lucie Jones as Elle Woods, David Barret as Emmet, Liam Doyle as Warner, Rita Simons as Paulette, Helen Petrovna as Brooke, and Laura Harrison as Vivienne. [45]

    The principal original casts of the major productions of Legally Blonde.

    • The cast for the TV airing, filmed in mid-September 2007, [50] consisted of the entire original Broadway cast, except for Tracy Jai Edwards taking over for Leslie Kritzer as Serena and Asmeret Ghebremichael replacing DeQuina Moore as Pilar. Moore departed from the production in July 2007, [51][52] and Kritzer left in August that same year. [52]

    The musical received mixed reviews but was praised for being a fun and upbeat production. Ben Brantley, reviewing the musical in The New York Times, wrote that the show was a "high-energy, empty-calories, and expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness". He praised Laura Bell Bundy, saying, "she sings and dances flawlessly, and she delivers silly lines as if she meant them." [53] Clive Barnes, in his New York Post review, praised Heather Hach's book but criticized the "amorphous, synthetic, and maniacally empty-headed music", summarizing the show as "a pleasant if noisy night out". [54] Elysa Gardner for USA Today wrote that the musical was an "ingratiating trifle", and the "game cast ensure that the proceedings, however patronizing, aren't irritating." [55] Jeremy McCarter in New York Magazine lamented that the musical "doesn’t summon memories of Tracy Flick, the steely student-council campaigner that Reese Witherspoon played in Election before starring in Legally Blonde", writing that the "Flickish manic drive" in Witherspoon's Legally Blonde performance had been his favorite part of the film. [56]

    The West End production received mostly positive reviews. Benedict Nightingale in The Times wrote, "Let's overlook some forgettable tunes and welcome dance that embraces everything from skipping with ropes to spoof Riverdance. Let's relish the support both of a fake-Greek chorus dressed as cheerleaders and of two cute, unnaturally obedient dogs. Let's agree that Legally Blonde is, well, fun". [57] Paul Taylor for The Independent called the show "Ridiculously enjoyable from start to finish." [58]

    The show also received some negative criticism. Tim Walker wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: "It is a great big empty vessel of a show that makes a lot of noise and not much else, and would have been better entitled 'Irredeemably Bland'. I was aware that for the whole of the two hours and 25 minutes that it ran, I was sitting among a group of people with vacant smiles on faces that otherwise seemed entirely numbed. That was how I looked, too. It is the expression that registers when what one is seeing doesn't entirely sync with what is going on in one's brain." [57]

    The Original Broadway Cast recording was recorded on May 7 and 8, 2007, and released on July 17, 2007, by Ghostlight Records (an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records). During the week of July 23, 2007, the cast album made its debut on Billboard's Cast Album chart, placing at #1, and it charted at #86 on the Billboard 200. [59]

    Before previews, a promotional sampler CD was released including "Omigod You Guys", "So Much Better", and "Take It Like a Man", featuring a slightly divergent cast, arrangement and lyrics of that of the final show's. [60]

    During the development phase of the musical, a demo recording was released with twelve songs featuring Kerry Butler and others as Elle. The demo featured workshop versions of "There! Right There!" (labelled on the sampler as "Gay or European"), "Blood in the Water", "Omigod You Guys", "Serious", "What You Want", "Legally Blonde", "Legally Blonde Remix", "So Much Better", and "Take It Like a Man", in addition to two songs not present in the finalized version of the show: "Beacon of Positivity" (which became "Love and War" for the previews and eventually "Positive" for the finalized version of the show) and "Good Boy", a song in the place of "Ireland". [61]

    Bailey Hanks, who won the reality show The Search for Elle Woods, recorded the song "So Much Better", which was released as a single on July 22, 2008. [12]

    A live London cast recording was recorded featuring Sheridan Smith, Alex Gaumond, and Duncan James in June 2010. It was released on August 16, 2010. [62] The London Cast Recording used the same track listing as the Broadway Cast Recording, with bonus tracks "Kyle the Magnificent" and the curtain call music added to the digital download version. [63]


    Contents

    According to interviews included as an extra feature on the 2007 film's DVD release, theatre producer Margo Lion first conceived of Hairspray as a stage musical in 1998 after seeing the original film on television. "I was home looking at a lot of movies, and one of those movies was Hairspray." She contacted John Waters, who gave her his blessing, then acquired the rights from New Line Cinema. Lion contacted Marc Shaiman, who expressed interest in the project only if his partner Scott Wittman could participate, and Lion agreed. The two enlisted the help of actress and singer Annie Golden to produce a demo recording containing three songs, one of which, "Good Morning Baltimore," eventually became the show's opening number. Based on their initial work, Lion felt confident that she had hired the right team. [3]

    Lion contacted Rob Marshall about directing the musical. At the time he was involved in negotiations to direct the screen adaptation of Chicago, but he agreed to become involved in the early development stages of Hairspray with the stipulation he would drop out if assigned the film. Marshall remembered Marissa Jaret Winokur from her brief appearance in the film American Beauty and arranged a meeting with Shaiman and Wittman. The two immediately felt she was right for the role of Tracy Turnblad but hesitated to commit without seeing any other auditions. They hired Winokur to work with them on the project with the understanding she might be replaced later. One year later, Winokur was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Certain she would lose the role if the creative team learned about her condition, she underwent a hysterectomy without telling anyone but her immediate family. The treatment and surgery succeeded, and Winokur returned to the project. [4] Meanwhile, Marshall had started work on Chicago, and Lion hired Jack O'Brien and Jerry Mitchell to direct and to choreograph, respectively. Winokur was one of the first to audition for the role of Tracy Turnblad and spent two years preparing with voice and dance lessons. [5] Tracy's mother had been portrayed by Divine in the original film, and Shaiman liked the idea of maintaining the tradition of casting a male as Edna Turnblad. Harvey Fierstein auditioned for the role with a "half-hour vocal audition". He thought they were "pacifying" him, but he was told "they don't want anyone but you". [6]

    According to Shaiman, one song, "I Know Where I've Been," became controversial during the genesis of the score:

    This was . inspired by a scene late in the [1988] movie that takes place on the black side of town. It never dawned on us that a torrent of protest would follow us from almost everyone involved with the show. 'It's too sad. . It's too preachy. . It doesn't belong. . Tracy should sing the eleven o'clock number.' We simply didn't want our show to be yet another show-biz version of a civil rights story where the black characters are just background. And what could be more Tracy Turnblad-like than to give the 'eleven o'clock number' to the black family at the heart of the struggle? Luckily . the audiences embraced this moment, which enriches the happy ending to follow, and it is our proudest achievement of the entire experience of writing Hairspray." [7]

    Original Broadway production Edit

    After a successful tryout at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, Hairspray opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre on August 15, 2002. [8] Jack O'Brien directed the production, which Jerry Mitchell choreographed, with set design by David Rockwell, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by Steve C. Kennedy, and the many distinctive wigs in the show by Paul Huntley. The performances were conducted by Lon Hoyt, with approximately 15 musicians. The original Broadway cast included Marissa Jaret Winokur and Harvey Fierstein in the lead roles of Tracy and Edna respectively. The cast also featured Matthew Morrison as Link, Laura Bell Bundy as Amber, Kerry Butler as Penny, Linda Hart as Velma, Mary Bond Davis as Motormouth Maybelle, Corey Reynolds as Seaweed, Jackie Hoffman as Matron, Dick Latessa as Wilbur, and Clarke Thorell as Corny Collins. Kamilah Marshall, Shayna Steele, and Judine Richard played the Dynamites.

    Hairspray received Tony Award nominations in 13 categories, winning eight, including for best musical, book, score and direction. Winokur, Fierstein and Latessa received awards for their performances. The production ran for more than six years, closing on January 4, 2009 after 2,642 performances. [2] Thorell returned to the cast for the final ten months. Fierstein and Winokur returned to the cast for the final performances. [9] [10]

    Original London production Edit

    The West End production opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on October 11, 2007, for previews before its official opening on October 30. Michael Ball played Edna, with Mel Smith as Wilbur Turnblad, newcomer Leanne Jones as Tracy, Tracie Bennett as Velma, Paul Manuel as Corny Collins, Rachael Wooding as Amber, Elinor Collett as Penny, and Ben James-Ellis as Link. The original creative team of the Broadway production, with the director Jack O'Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, reunited for the London production. [11] The show garnered a record-setting eleven Olivier Award nominations [12] and won for Best New Musical, as well as acting awards for Best Actress and Actor in a musical (Jones and Ball). [13] The production closed on March 28, 2010 after a run of nearly two-and-a-half years and over 1,000 performances. [14]

    2021 London revival Edit

    The production was due to return to the West End at the London Coliseum for a limited 18-week season from 23 April to 29 August 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing all public theatres to close indefinitely from mid March, the production was initially delayed to 1 September to 8 November, [15] [16] and then delayed again to 21 June to 29 September 2021. [17]

    Michael Ball reprised his Olivier Award-winning role as Edna Turnblad, reuniting him with the original director Jack O'Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. [18] Full casting includes Lizzie Bea, who plays Tracy, Marisha Wallace who plays Motormouth Maybelle, Les Dennis as Wilbur Turnblad, Rita Simons as Velma Von Tussle, Jonny Amies as Link Larkin and Mari McGinlay as Penny Pingleton. Paul Merton was originally set to make his West End debut as Wilbur but after several delays to the show he was unable to join the company and was replaced by Dennis. [19]

    Original Australian production Edit

    Australian production of Hairspray opened in Melbourne at the Princess Theatre on October 2, 2010 to critical acclaim. [20] It was directed by David Atkins and choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance Australia judge Jason Coleman. [21] The show moved to Sydney from June 23, 2011. The cast included Jaz Flowers as Tracy, Trevor Ashley as Edna, Jack Chambers as Link, and Tevin Campbell reprising his role from the Broadway production as Seaweed J. Stubbs. Atkins redesigned the production using new technologies. [22] The set used enormous LED screens, which moved around the stage in various combinations, as the characters interacted with animated landscapes generated across the screens. [23] The musical opened at Sydney's Lyric Theatre at The Star Casino on 11 June 2011 and closed on 25 September 2011, two weeks earlier than anticipated, ending its Australian run.

    Tours Edit

    The first U.S. national tour started a run in September 2003 in Baltimore and ended in June 2006. [24] It starred Carly Jibson as Tracy, Bruce Vilanch as Edna, Terron Brooks as Seaweed, Sandra DeNise as Penny, Susan Cella as Velma, and Ramona Cole (soon replaced by Charlotte Crossley) as Motormouth Maybelle. [25] When the tour stopped in Los Angeles, Winokur reprised her role as Tracy, together with the original Broadway Link, Matthew Morrison. The same creative team of Jack O'Brien (dir.) and Jerry Mitchell (chor) were at the helm. Lon Hoyt served as music supervisor. Jim Vukovich served as music director for the entire 33 months on the road. [26]

    In July 2006, a non-Equity U.S. and Asian tour opened in Atlantic City's Harrah's Casino. [27] The shorter "casino version" was used for a six-week run, but when the tour moved on, [28] it continued with the full version of the show minus the character of Lorraine. The production starred Brooklynn Pulver as Tracy, Jerry O'Boyle as Edna, Dan Ferretti as Wilbur, Constantine Rousouli as Link, Christian Dante White as Seaweed, Alyssa Malgeri as Penny, Jarret Mallon as Corny, Happy McPartlin as Velma, Pearl Thomas as Amber, and Yvette Clark as Motormouth Maybelle. [29] The tour played sit down engagements in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. It played its final performance on April 25, 2010 at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, California.

    After the West End production closed, Hairspray began touring the UK and Ireland, starting at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on April 7, 2010, following previews from March 30. The tour stars Michael Ball as Edna, alternating with Michael Starke and Brian Conley Les Dennis, Nigel Planer and Micky Dolenz alternating as Wilbur and Laurie Scarth as Tracy. [30]

    Hairspray toured the UK and Ireland in 2013. The show opened on February 13 in The Lowry Theatre in Manchester with Mark Benton playing Edna Turnblad, Lucy Benjamin playing Velma Von Tussle, Marcus Collins as Seaweed Stubbs and Freya Sutton as Tracy Turnblad, respectively. [31] MM Musicals presented the show at FairfieldHalls, Croydon, in the Ashcroft Theatre, from 19–22 November 2014, with Corin Miller as Tracy, Andy Lingfield as Edna, and Natalie Cave as Penny. [32]

    Mark Goucher produced a Hairspray tour in the UK from September 2015, starting at the Curve, Leicester. [33] The production return at the end of summer 2017 to once again tour the UK, starring Norman Pace as Wilbur, Brenda Edwards as Motormouth, Layton Williams and newcomer Rebecca Mendoza as Tracy. [34] The Curve production and subsequent tours were directed by Paul Kerryson with choreography by Drew McOnie.

    The production will tour the UK and Ireland once again in 2021 directed by Paul Kerryson and starring Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle and Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad. The show will open in Plymouth on 24 June 2021 before touring around the UK into 2022. [35] [36]

    Other productions Edit

    A Las Vegas production ran at the Luxor Hotel in 2006 starring Katrina Rose Dideriksen as Tracy, Austin Miller as Link, and Fierstein and Latessa reprising their roles as Edna and Wilbur. This ninety-minute version was played in one act. Cut songs included "The Big Dollhouse", "(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs", "Velma's Revenge", "Good Morning Baltimore (Reprise)", and "Cooties". [37]

    Royal Caribbean International

    Royal Caribbean International presented the show on their first Oasis Class ship MS Oasis of the Seas, which made its maiden voyage in December 2009. The show was performed in the ship's 1350 seat Opal Theater three times on each seven-night cruise but was later replaced with Cats The Musical.

    In 2018 the MS Symphony of the Seas made its maiden voyage, and due to multiple requests, Hairspray was added as a show. The show is still being performed in the present, in one act, restoring "(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs" but like the Las Vegas version omitting "The Big Dollhouse", "Velma's Revenge", "Good Morning Baltimore (Reprise)", and "Cooties". The second verse of "It Takes Two" was also omitted. This show includes multiple uses of technology, combined with a company of singers and dancers. It is usually performed 3 or 4 times a week, along with a Royal Caribbean Production called “Flight: Dare to Dream”.

    U.S. regional premiere Edit

    Weathervane Playhouse, in Newark, Ohio, performed the U.S. regional premiere from July 29 to August 7, 2010 immediately followed by The Riverton Arts Council in Riverton, Utah, at the Sandra N. Lloyd Performing Arts Center from July 30 to August 21, 2010.

    Production at the Hollywood Bowl ran from August 5–7, 2011, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. [38] Original Broadway cast members Fierstein and Winokur reprised their roles as Edna and Tracy Turnblad. The cast also featured Corbin Bleu (Seaweed J. Stubbs), Drew Carey (Wilbur), Diana DeGarmo (Penny), Mo Gaffney (Prudy and others), Nick Jonas (Link Larkin), Darlene Love (Motormouth Maybelle), Susan Anton (Velma Von Tussle), and John Stamos (Corny Collins). [39] [40]

    International productions Edit

    The first international production opened in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre in April 2004 and ran for 245 performances. Vanessa Olivarez, a former American Idol contestant, starred as Tracy, and Jay Brazeau starred as Edna. [41]

    A South African production opened in Johannesburg in October 2007 with the original direction and choreography recreated by Matt Lenz and Greg Graham. New set and costume designs were by Michael Bottari and Ronald Case. [42] [43] A production in Buenos Aires, Argentina, opened on July 16, 2008 starring Enrique Pinti as Edna. The role of Tracy was cast through a reality-competition show called Yo Quiero Ser la Protagonista de Hairspray' (I Want to Be Hairspray's Protagonist). [44]

    On November 14, 2008, a production of Hairspray in Manila in the Philippines, starring Madel Ching as Tracy and Michael de Mesa as Edna. The production closed on December 7, 2008. [45] On July 10, 2009, a Brazilian production opened in Rio de Janeiro, starring Simone Gutierrez as Tracy and Edson Celulari as Edna. A 2010 Brazilian tour stopped in São Paulo, Brasilia, Curitiba and Porto Alegre. [ citation needed ]

    A Dutch production ran during the 2009/2010 season. Edna Turnblad was played by Arjan Ederveen and Link was Jim Bakkum (runner-up in the first season of the Dutch American Idol). [ citation needed ] On December 6, 2009 a German production opened in Cologne. Edna was played alternately by Uwe Ochsenknecht and comedian Tetje Mierendorf. Tracy was played by Maite Kelly, a former member of The Kelly Family and Penny was Jana Stelley. The first production of Hairspray in the German language, however, took place at the Theater St. Gallen, Switzerland. [ citation needed ] A re-creation of the Broadway/West End production of the show opened in Dubai in July 2010 with Leanne Jones, from the West End production, reprising her role as Tracy and Antony Stuart-Hicks as Edna. [46]

    A Japanese production was scheduled to run at the Toshima Arts and Culture Theatre, Tokyo in June 2020 and at Umeda Arts Theater, Osaka in July 2020. It was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It featured Naomi Watanabe as Tracy Turnblad, Yuichiro Yamaguchi as Edna Turnblad, Zen Ishikawa as Wilbur Turnblad, Crystal Kay as Motormouth Maybelle, Jun Sena as Velma Von Tussle, Kohei Ueguchi as Corny Collins, Kurumi Shimizu as Penny Pingleton, Hiroki Miura as Link Larkin, Soichi Hirama as Seaweed J. Stubbs and Meimi Tamura (former ANGERME member) as Amber Von Tussle.

    Other productions opened in Canada, Finland, Japan, South Korea, [47] Italy, St. Gallen, Switzerland (in German) and Brazil. [48] The musical also played in Shanghai, China, at the Shanghai Grand Theatre in July 2008 [49] and Stockholm, Sweden in September 2008. [ citation needed ] Other productions are planned for France, Israel, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Mexico. [50] Hairspray has been translated into German, Finnish, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, French and Hebrew.

    There was a production which was performed in the Hong Kong Cultural Center, by a performing arts company called Face Production. [51] They won an HK Heckler Award for Best Musical, Best Actress and Best Set Design.

    School adaptation Edit

    In August 2008, the British television channel Sky 1 began broadcasting Hairspray: The School Musical, which followed the development of a North London comprehensive school's production of Hairspray from audition to performance, with input from various actors and creatives, including members of the Broadway production team and the West End cast. [52]

    The Junior version released by MTI excludes the musical numbers "I Can Hear the Bells", "(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs", "Velma's Revenge", "Big, Blonde, and Beautiful", (You're) Timeless To Me, (You're) Timeless To Me (Reprise) and the character Harriman F. Spritzer.

    NBC live television Edit

    Hairspray was the next live musical to be produced by NBC, and was broadcast on December 7, 2016. [53] Newcomer Maddie Baillio was chosen to play Tracy Turnblad. [54] Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein starred as Motormouth Maybelle and Edna Turnblad, respectively. [55] Martin Short portrayed Wilbur Turnblad and Derek Hough played Corny Collins. [56] Kristin Chenoweth starred as Velma Von Tussle, and Ariana Grande played the role of Penny Pingleton. [57] [58] The roles of Amber Von Tussle, Link Larkin, and Seaweed J. Stubbs were played by Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, and Ephraim Sykes, respectively. [59] Sean Hayes portrayed Mr Pinky, and Rosie O'Donnell played the gym teacher. [60]

    Act I Edit

    It is June 1962 in Baltimore. Tracy Turnblad, an overweight high school student, wakes up ("Good Morning Baltimore") and goes to school, where she receives a warning for "inappropriate hair height". After school, Tracy rushes home with her best friend, Penny, to catch the local teenage dance show, The Corny Collins Show ("The Nicest Kids in Town"). Edna, Tracy's shy and overweight mother, is ironing and complains about the noise of the music coming from the television, while Penny's mother, Prudy, complains about it being race music. After an announcement that auditions for a place on the show will be held due to the fact that Brenda (one of the Corny Collins Council Members) has taken a leave of absence from the show for "9 months", Tracy begs her mother for permission to audition. Edna, fearing that Tracy will be laughed at due to her weight, refuses. Penny and Amber (the main dancer on The Corny Collins Show) have similar arguments with their mothers ("Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now").

    After gaining permission and support from her father, Wilbur, Tracy auditions for the show and bumps into a teenage heartthrob, Link Larkin, which leads into a dream sequence ("I Can Hear the Bells"). Velma Von Tussle, the racist producer of The Corny Collins Show, rejects Tracy from the audition because of her size ("(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs"), as well as refusing a black girl, Little Inez. Back at school, Tracy is sent to detention for her "monumental hair-don't". There she meets black dancer Seaweed J. Stubbs (the son of the hostess of "Negro Day" on The Corny Collins Show, Motormouth Maybelle), who teaches her several dance moves. She uses the new dance steps at the Sophomore Hop the following day to introduce herself to Corny Collins ("The Madison"). When Corny sees how well Tracy can dance, he gives her a place on the show ("The Nicest Kids in Town" (Reprise)). During the broadcast, Link, following Corny's suggestion, sings "It Takes Two" to Tracy, much to Amber's dismay. After the show, Mr Spritzer, the show's worrisome sponsor, appeals to Velma over Tracy's appointment to the Council. Velma, threatening to fire Corny from the show, is eventually left distraught and determines to ruin Tracy ("Velma's Revenge").

    At the Turnblad house, Edna is receiving calls from fans who saw Tracy on the show. A call comes in from Mr Pinky, the owner of a plus-size dress shop, for an endorsement. Tracy pleads with her mother to come with her and to act as her agent although Edna has not left their apartment in years. Finally making it outside, Edna is given a huge makeover ("Welcome to the 60's") and Tracy becomes the spokes-girl for the shop. At school, signs of Tracy's fame are evident in the schoolyard, with graffiti on the walls and Shelly, another Council Member sporting Tracy's signature hairdo. During a game of dodge ball, a jealous Amber knocks Tracy out, and Link rushes to her side. Penny and Seaweed, who have developed a liking for each other, rush to fetch the school nurse, only to find her out sick. Seaweed, suggesting that some fun would make Tracy feel better, invites all of them to his mother's record shop for a platter party ("Run and Tell That"). At the shop, Tracy rallies everyone to march against the station on the following day's Mother-Daughter Day, as blacks are not allowed on the show except for the monthly Negro Day. Before they start, Motormouth Maybelle convinces the initially reluctant Edna and Wilbur to march as well. Link declined to participate for the sake of his contract with the show. During the protest, led by Motormouth, Velma calls the police and fights break out. When the police arrive on the scene, almost everyone is arrested ("Big, Blonde and Beautiful").

    Act II Edit

    After the march, most of the women are locked up in a women's penitentiary ("The Big Dollhouse"). Because of Velma's dirty tactics, the governor pardons and releases her and Amber. Wilbur bails out the remaining people, excluding Tracy who is forced to remain in jail through another one of Velma's manipulations. Tracy is alone and wishes that Link could be with her ("Good Morning Baltimore" (Reprise)). Back at the Har-De-Har Hut (Wilbur's joke shop), Wilbur and Edna are left destitute because of the money it cost them to bail everyone out and with Tracy still in prison. Edna sympathizes with her daughter's dream – she had dreamt of making her "own line of queen-sized dress patterns". Edna and Wilbur reminisce about their past and how they can never be parted from each other ("(You're) Timeless to Me"). During the night, Link sneaks into the jail where he finds Tracy in solitary confinement. As Link and Tracy reunite, Penny's mother, Prudy, punishes Penny for "going to jail without her permission" and ties her up in her bedroom where Seaweed comes to her rescue. Both couples declare their love for one another ("Without Love"). After escaping from their respective prisons, the couples seek refuge at Motormouth Maybelle's Record Shop. Tracy thinks that it is unfair that after all of their hard work, The Corny Collins Show is still segregated. They devise a plan to help integrate the show, and Motormouth remembers their long fight for equality ("I Know Where I've Been").

    On the day of the Miss Teenage Hairspray competition, Corny Collins starts the show with a song ("(It's) Hairspray"). Amber shows off her talents in a bid to get more votes from the viewers ("Cooties"). Just as the results are about to be announced, Tracy stuns Amber as she makes her entrance in a magenta dress without any petticoat underneath, taking over the stage, and is joined by Link, Penny, Seaweed, Edna, Wilbur, Little Inez, Corny, and Motormouth. Tracy is declared the winner of the competition. Amber and Velma protest the results, claiming that it is all wrong. Little Inez then tries to take the crown by force when Amber refuses to hand it over, but Tracy stops her, claiming that her heart is set on something more important, which is Link and her future. She then proclaims the Corny Collins show is "now and forevermore" racially integrated, to much applause. When all is announced, Mr. Spritzer runs onstage thrilled with the public's response to the telecast and announces that the governor has pardoned Tracy and gave her a full college scholarship and he offers Link a recording contract and Velma the position of vice president of Ultra Glow – beauty products for women of color, much to the latter's chagrin. Prudy arrives at the station and, seeing how happy Penny is with Seaweed, accepts her daughter for who she is. At the height of the moment, the company invites Amber and Velma to join the celebration. With the station in joyous celebration, Tracy and Link cement their love with a kiss ("You Can't Stop the Beat").

    Principal roles and casts of major productions of stage productions of Hairspray:

    Character Description Original Broadway cast Notable subsequent performers in noteworthy productions
    Tracy Turnblad The female lead of Hairspray. A "pleasantly plump" teenager, who dreams of fame and fights to racially integrate The Corny Collins Show. Marissa Jaret Winokur Kathy Brier, Shannon Durig, Marissa Perry, Leanne Jones
    Edna Turnblad Tracy's kind, plus-sized mother – a drag role. Edna runs a laundry business out of her home. Harvey Fierstein Michael McKean, Bruce Vilanch, John Pinette, Paul C. Vogt, George Wendt, Michael Ball, Brian Conley, Phill Jupitus, Trevor Ashley
    Wilbur Turnblad Tracy's goofy, loving and encouraging father, who owns the Har-De-Har Hut joke shop and is still madly in love with his wife, Edna. He encourages Tracy to follow her dreams. Dick Latessa Jere Burns, Jerry Mathers, Jim J. Bullock, Stephen DeRosa, Drew Carey, Mel Smith, Nigel Planer, Micky Dolenz, Grant Piro, Paul Merton
    Motormouth Maybelle The sassy, strong-willed and friendly owner of a downtown record shop and the host of "Negro Day" on The Corny Collins Show, self-described as "big, blonde and beautiful". Mary Bond Davis Darlene Love, Jenifer Lewis, Sharon D Clarke, Marisha Wallace
    Velma Von Tussle The villainess of Hairspray. Amber's scheming mother and producer of The Corny Collins Show, who pushes her daughter to seek the stardom that she never had. Linda Hart Liz Larsen, Barbara Walsh, Isabel Keating, Michele Pawk, Mary Birdsong, Karen Mason, Susan Anton, Tracie Bennett, Liz Robertson, Belinda Carlisle, Siobhán McCarthy, Rita Simons
    Corny Collins The glib, polished host of The Corny Collins Show, with one eye on social progress and another on his hair. Clarke Thorell Lance Bass, Jonathan Dokuchitz, John Stamos
    Link Larkin A teenage heartthrob and one of The Corny Collins Show Council Members, who unexpectedly falls in love with Tracy. Matthew Morrison, Jonny Amies Richard H. Blake, Andrew Rannells, Ashley Parker Angel, Aaron Tveit, Nick Jonas, Ben James-Ellis, Jack Chambers
    Penny Pingleton Tracy's slightly dorky, devoted and perky best friend who comes from a very strict home life. She has her own love story with Seaweed Stubbs. Kerry Butler Jennifer Gambatese, Tracy Miller, Diana DeGarmo, Caissie Levy, Alexa Vega, Verity Rushworth, Esther Hannaford,
    Seaweed J. Stubbs A hip and kind-hearted "Negro Day" dancer and the son of Motormouth Maybelle who falls in love with Penny. Corey Reynolds Chester Gregory II, Tevin Campbell, Corbin Bleu
    Amber Von Tussle Bratty, selfish resident princess of The Corny Collins Show, despite her lack of talent. She is willing to do anything to win the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant. Laura Bell Bundy Becky Gulsvig, Haylie Duff, Ashley Spencer, Aubrey O'Day, Rachael Wooding, Rita Simons
    Prudy Pingleton / Gym Teacher / Matron Prudy Pingleton, Penny's overprotective and bigoted mother the Gym Teacher, and The Matron guarding The Big Dollhouse. Jackie Hoffman Julie Halston, Susan Mosher, Mo Gaffney
    Harriman F. Spritzer / Principal / Mr. Pinky Mr. Harriman F. Spritzer, the President of Ultra Clutch and Principal of Patterson Park High School Mr. Pinky, owner of Mr. Pinky's Hefty Hideaway who gives Tracy and Edna a makeover. Joel Vig Jim J. Bullock, Kevin Meaney, Michael McDonald
    Little Inez Seaweed's talented younger sister. Danielle Eugenia Wilson Naturi Naughton

    • "Good Morning Baltimore" – Tracy and Ensemble
    • "The Nicest Kids in Town" – Corny and Council Members
    • "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" – Edna, Tracy, Prudy, Penny, Velma, Amber, and Female Ensemble
    • "I Can Hear the Bells" – Tracy and Ensemble
    • "(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs" – Velma and Council Members
    • "The Nicest Kids in Town (Reprise)"† – Corny, Tracy, and Council Members
    • "It Takes Two" – Link, Tracy, and Male Ensemble
    • "Velma's Revenge"† – Velma
    • "Welcome to the 60's" – Tracy, Edna, The Dynamites, Mr. Pinky, and Ensemble
    • "Run and Tell That!" – Seaweed, Little Inez, and Motormouth Kids
    • "Big, Blonde and Beautiful" – Motormouth, Little Inez, Tracy, Edna, Wilbur, and Ensemble
    • "The Big Dollhouse" – Matron, Edna, Velma, Tracy, Amber, Penny, Motormouth, Little Inez, and Female Ensemble
    • "Good Morning Baltimore (Reprise)" – Tracy
    • "(You're) Timeless to Me" – Edna and Wilbur
    • "(You're) Timeless to Me (Reprise)"† - Edna and Wilbur
    • "Without Love" – Tracy, Link, Penny, Seaweed, and Ensemble
    • "I Know Where I've Been" – Motormouth and Ensemble
    • "(It's) Hairspray" – Corny and Council Members
    • "Cooties" – Amber and Council Members
    • "You Can't Stop the Beat" – Tracy, Link, Penny, Seaweed, Edna, Wilbur, Motormouth, Velma, Amber, and Company

    Not on the cast recording.

    Score revisions and additional songs Edit

    Hairspray went through several revisions during its pre-Broadway run in Seattle, in the process eliminating and replacing several musical numbers. In Seattle, an infomercial about safety on the road titled "Blood on the Pavement" followed "The Nicest Kids in Town", and is included on the cast album following "You Can't Stop the Beat". Early versions of the show featured "Velma's Cha-Cha" and "The Status Quo" (Seattle) (with its short reprise "Rage") during Tracy's audition and dismissal, but the team instead opted for "(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs", as the audience did not like seeing Tracy being verbally attacked after "I Can Hear the Bells". [61] After Tracy's rejection from the Council, there was a scene in the Har-De-Har Hut in which Wilbur tried to cheer Tracy up, [62] singing that "It Doesn't Get Better than This". Later replaced by the similar "Positivity", the scene was cut early in the Seattle tryout as it was deemed emotionally redundant.

    After Tracy eventually made it on the show, there was a song "The New Girl in Town", which was sung first by the Councilettes and later by the black girls. Although cut during the Seattle tryout, it was included in the 2007 film and appears in the show's instrumental score. [63] "The Mother-Daughter Cha-Cha-Cha" was another cut number that originally followed "Big, Blonde, and Beautiful". Later, the writers absorbed the protest rally and Mother-Daughter Day into the number, thus deleting the song and folding the sequence into a single scene. [64] A song called "Step on Up" was also cut in favor of "I Know Where I've Been". [65] Early on in the genesis of the show, the plot involved a "Miss Auto Show" competition, as in the 1988 film, instead of "Miss Teenage Hairspray". For this competition, later revised due to the cost of cars onstage, there was a song called "Take a Spin" sung by Corny in the place of "(It's) Hairspray". [66] After Amber's rendition of "Cooties", Tracy had a song before the finale called "It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings," though it was cut after readings of the show it was included as a track on the Special Edition of the 2007 motion picture's soundtrack. [67]

    Hairspray's orchestration calls for fifteen musicians, consisting of the following: two keyboards, the first of which is played by the conductor, electric bass, two guitars, drums, percussion, two trumpets, trombone, two woodwind players, two violins, and cello. The guitarists both double on acoustic and electric guitars, in which the first plays lead and the second plays rhythm, and the trumpet doubles on flugelhorn the original production also featured a piccolo trumpet double during tryouts. The first woodwind player doubles on tenor and alto saxophones and flute. The second woodwind player doubles on tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophones and flute, while the backup chorus calls for three males and three females.

    In the original Broadway production, a few of the actors mimed on musical instruments in order to fulfil a minimum musician requirement at the Neil Simon Theatre. [68]

    Touring productions often use smaller/reduced orchestrations to save on costs - the UK 2017/18 tour which used a 12-piece orchestration - two keyboards (Of which the first is played by the conductor), two guitars, electric bass, drums, percussion, two woodwind players (in which the second one is playing alto, tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones and flute), trombone and two trumpets and a 12-piece background chorus: six males and six females. [69]

    Hairspray explores the themes of racial prejudice and freedom of expression. It highlights individuality, and the importance of everyone working together for something to become revolutionary. The musical is empowering, as although it touches on racial issues that were prevalent in 1960s America, it focuses more on the attitudes that are associated with it, and the power that we have to change discrimination. [70] The musical encourages individuality, acceptance and freedom. It is a musical that can be applied to any social context and time, as it highlights ongoing issues such as fat-shaming, racism and discrimination. [71] It also explores femininity in terms of the female characters. Notably, Tracy’s mother, Edna Turnblad, is performed in drag during the shows. Allowing a drag role for Edna adds a queerness to the musical as it does not include any gay characters. [72] Edna is considered to be the non-racialised other that is part of the story in Hairspray. [73] The musical also challenges the societal norms of a female. The body size of Edna also adds emphasis to the diva roles that are present in the show. [72] Thus, the musical highlights female characters that are strong and associated with diva characteristics.

    Hairspray the musical emphasises on issues of acceptance and discrimination within society. [74] Being set in the 1960s, the musical highlights the struggles of racial discrimination of African-Americans during the civil rights movement, with a focus on the world of popular culture. The Civil Rights Movement (1954-1986) was a positive time in America's history it allowed African-Americans the right to vote, gave them a voice, and introduced freedom for all. [75] However, African-Americans still experienced vast inequality during this time. This reality, of the whites holding all institutional and political power, is portrayed in Hairspray in the Corny Collins Show. The African-Americans are only allowed to dance on the show once a month, and there is a stereotypical racial representation of dance style. The social representation in Hairspray is parallel to the reality of the 1960s. By the end of the show, the African-Americans are allowed to dance on the show with indicates racial integration. [76] The show is empowering by acknowledging the challenges and limitations enforced on African Americans during this time, and also reminds audiences of the progress made as a result of the civil rights movement. Its message can also be used to empower change for other forms of discrimination that are still relevant in today’s society. [77]

    Critics Edit

    According to Variety, Hairspray received thirteen favorable and four mixed reviews. [78] Charles Isherwood, in his Variety review wrote: ". this sweet, infinitely spirited, bubblegum-flavored confection won't be lacking for buyers any time soon. Arriving in an aerosol fog of advance hype, it more than lives up to its promise." [79] Ben Brantley wrote: "So what if it's more than a little pushy in its social preaching? Stocked with canny, deliriously tuneful songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and directed by Jack O'Brien with a common touch that stops short of vulgarity, 'Hairspray' is as sweet as a show can be without promoting tooth decay. . [it] succeeds in recreating the pleasures of the old-fashioned musical comedy without seeming old-fashioned. . Shaiman. is taking the infectious hooks and rhythms from period pop and R&B and translating them into the big, bouncy sound that Broadway demands. And while the savvy arrangements. nod happily to Motown, Elvis, Lesley Gore ballads and standards like "Higher and Higher," the score's appeal isn't nostalgic. It's music that builds its own self-contained, improbably symmetrical world. " [80] New York's Daily News wrote, "As Tracy, Marissa Jaret Winokur has the heft, the pipes and an enormously appealing stage presence. Her dancing may not be as special as the plot suggests, but she wins your heart. With this role, Fierstein places himself in the great line of Broadway divas." [81]

    Box office and business Edit

    Hairspray opened with a $12 million advance after the Tony Awards show (in June 2003), it was expected to do five times the business it normally did on a Monday. [82] The entire $10.5 million investment was recouped by May 2003 (approximately 9 months after its Broadway opening). [83] For 2002-03 it averaged 99% capacity for 2007 it averaged 86%. [84]

    A film version was released in July 2007. The film was directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman and starred John Travolta as Edna Turnblad, Christopher Walken as Wilbur Turnblad, Queen Latifah as Maybelle, Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma Von Tussle, James Marsden as Corny Collins, and Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad. Hugh Jackman and Joey McIntyre were both considered to play the role of Corny Collins, but lost to Jackman's X-Men co-star Marsden. [85] NBC's Hairspray Live!, directed by Kenny Leon and Alex Rudzinski, aired in December 2016 to mostly positive reviews. [86]

    Original Broadway production Edit

    Sources: PlaybillVault [87] Internet Broadway Database [88] Playbill [89] Playbill [90]

    Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
    2003 Tony Award Best Musical Won
    Best Original Score Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Won
    Best Direction of a Musical Jack O'Brien Won
    Best Book of a Musical Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan Won
    Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Harvey Fierstein Won
    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Marissa Jaret Winokur Won
    Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Dick Latessa Won
    Corey Reynolds Nominated
    Best Choreography Jerry Mitchell Nominated
    Best Orchestrations Harold Wheeler Nominated
    Best Scenic Design David Rockwell Nominated
    Best Costume Design William Ivey Long Won
    Best Lighting Design Kenneth Posner Nominated
    Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Won
    Outstanding Book of a Musical Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan Won
    Outstanding Orchestrations Harold Wheeler Nominated
    Outstanding Actor in a Musical Harvey Fierstein Won
    Outstanding Actress in a Musical Marissa Jaret Winokur Won
    Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Dick Latessa Won
    Corey Reynolds Nominated
    Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Kerry Butler Nominated
    Outstanding Lyrics Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman Won
    Outstanding Music Marc Shaiman Won
    Outstanding Director Jack O'Brien Won
    Outstanding Choreography Jerry Mitchell Nominated
    Outstanding Set Design David Rockwell Nominated
    Outstanding Costume Design William Ivey Long Won
    Theatre World Award Jackie Hoffman Won
    Marissa Jaret Winokur Won

    Original London production Edit

    Sources: Playbill [91] Playbill [92] Olivier Awards [93] The Telegraph [94]


    'No sane person could possibly find offence in Hair'

    Hair was written by two out-of-work American actors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado. Both had become inspired by the hippie movement and embedded themselves in the New York scene, documenting the hippies' activities and philosophy.

    The musical they wrote as a result stretched the expected boundaries of the genre, doing away with a structured narrative in favour of hallucinatory vignettes based around the experiences of two hippies — Claude and Berger — and their "tribe" as they wrestle with issues of liberation (sexual and otherwise), responsibility and morality after Claude receives a draft notice from the US Army.

    "Hair arrived at a crossroads for the theatre, for the musical, and for both Australian and American society," says Meyrick.

    "Ideas of what a musical could be were changing, ideas of what was permissible on stage were changing, and ideas of what society should be doing in life were changing."

    And it came at a time when opposition to the war in Vietnam, and conscription, was reaching its peak.

    Hair premiered on Broadway and the West End in 1968 and plans for an Australian production were announced shortly after.

    On Broadway it had drawn consternation from censors and establishment figures, but eventually opened unedited.

    On the West End, producers delayed opening the musical until stage censorship rules were revoked.

    Supplied: The HAIR Archives

    In the lead-up to its Sydney premiere, a war of words began between the show's producer, Harry M Miller, and Chief Secretary Willis, who had announced plans to attend a preview and determine whether Hair should be allowed to open.

    But the erudite producer Miller seemed to relish in the controversy, seeing its potential for free publicity. He taunted Willis in the press.

    "No sane person could possibly find offence in Hair," Miller was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    "If they do, any painting by Rubens, or Botticelli, or Michelangelo is obscene and crude. Any sculpture by the world's leading sculptors is obscene."

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    His gamble paid off. Willis allowed Hair to open.

    Hair director Jim Sharman wrote in his memoir that "[Miller] orchestrated events so that the act of denying [Sydney] the opportunity to see this controversial show would confirm Australia's provincial status. His press campaign began to turn the censorious tide, and banning the show became a less appetising political option."

    Despite allowing it to be performed, Willis couldn't help firing a departing volley. He told the Sydney Morning Herald, "I cannot possibly support the way Hair lampoons accepted standards of morality and loudly proclaims almost every known vice, from blasphemy and drug-taking to homosexuality and draft-dodging."

    But even Eric Willis had to acknowledge that Hair was something weɽ never seen in theatres before, adding: "However, it is cleverly presented and quite revolutionary as a form of theatre."

    The tide of opinion was shifting against censorship in the arts, and the government intervention seen in the mid-60s became less common.

    A year later, Hair opened in Melbourne without incident.

    Supplied: The HAIR Archives


    Hairstory

    James Rado is at the heart and root of the origin. In his early teens he knew what he wanted to do, his dream, to write a Broadway musical. He had become a fan of the genre, and he made first stabs at writing one. In college he majored in Speech & Drama and became a songwriter. He co-authored 2 musical shows at the University of Maryland: "INTERLUDE" and, a year later, "INTERLUDE 2." After graduation, followed by two years in the U.S.Navy, he returned to school in Washington, D.C. for graduate work at Catholic University, where he co-authored a musical revue called "CROSS YOUR FINGERS." He wrote the lyrics and music for all his songs. He moved to New York City, but it would be another 10 years before he would write a fourth musical for the stage. (During that intervening decade, besides holding down a "make-a-living" job, he wrote pop songs and recorded his own band, known as "James Alexander and the Argyles," and he began to study acting in earnest.) Upon meeting Gerome Ragni, he saw some of Jerry's poetic writings and asked him to collaborate on a new show. They began a voluminous creation. One day they were in the Whitney Museum of Art on Madison Avenue, going from painting to painting, when they came upon a rather unique one by an American artist, Jim Dine. Looking to see the name of it, Jim Rado said to Jerry Ragni, "What an odd title for a painting. Hair." Several months later they found that title most apropos for the show they were writing about hippiedom and the troubles of America.

    HAIR's world debut was in New York City in October 1967, off-Broadway , on the heels of the Summer of Love. Jerry and I had written HAIR for the uptown big theatre audiences. It was designed to invade Broadway territory, but we couldn't get a tumble from any of the Broadway producers. "Not our cup of tea," they would say. We retreated from our firm intention, in response to an offer of a 6-week run for HAIR as the opening attraction at a new theater. The old Astor Library, gutted and under fresh construction, became The New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, and the producer Joseph Papp chose HAIR to be the premiere presentation in his experimental space, the Anspacher Theater. (Papp had produced free Shakespeare in Central Park for years, but was now branching out, to embrace the excitement of the avant garde theater movement.) Quite a wonderful opportunity, we thought if we couldn't get HAIR on-Broadway, at least we could jump-start it downtown in the Joseph Papp spotlight of a new New York theater, in the East Village at that, where the play itself was set. As directed by Gerald Freedman, with choreography by Anna Sokolow, the "Public" proved to be a perfect "out-of-town tryout."

    A Guy, a Kid and a Cat

    A guy from Washington, D.C. ( James Rado ) and a kid from Pittsburgh. Pa. ( Gerome Ragni ) met in New York City when they were cast together in a new off-Broadway endeavor, HANG DOWN YOUR HEAD AND DIE, a musical revue whose theme was Capital Punishment. Following the shortest run in show biz (one night), the two young men continued their friendship and soon set out to write their own show, a musical they entitled HAIR . The two became three when they joined up with a cat from Montreal, Canada ( Galt MacDermot ) who had settled into the New York area to live and who set their songs to music.

    HAIR was created as an original idea by Gerome Ragni (Jerry) and, myself, James Rado (Jim). We collaborated on the story, text, characters, dialogue and lyrics beginning in late 1964, continuing over the years 1965, 1966 and 1967. From the start, I envisioned that the score of HAIR would be something new for Broadway, a kind of pop rock/showtune hybrid. At first we had considerable difficulty finding a composer we rejected several, until finally, in late 1966, we found the man to make the music for our songs. It was a case of love at first sound. Meeting the composer, Galt MacDermot, was more than a fulfillment of our dream. I would call it a clear illustration of a marriage made in heaven.

    The show opened at the Public Theater and began to stir some excitement, earning largely favorable reviews, with a great one from Clive Barnes (who had some reservations mixed in with his praise), lead critic of the New York Times. Downtown (even without the "nude scene") HAIR proved to be a very warm ticket.

    But after a 6-week run, Joseph Papp was done with it. He really didn't envision the future for it that the authors did. He had to get on with his successive productions, each one to run 6 weeks. Besides, no show had ever gone from off-Broadway to Broadway before. Still Jerry and I were determined and knew that somehow, some way, we would find someone who would be able to help us move it uptown to the George M. Cohan Great White Way. Sure enough, a man from Chicago, Michael Butler, had caught a performance of HAIR at the Public. He was attracted to it by the Public Theater poster with the picture of five American Indians on it. He thought HAIR would be about Native Americans, a subject he was interested in. He didn't know the show was about hippiehood, but he took it in and liked it so much that, although he had never been a producer of theatricals before, expressed the desire to move the Public Theater production to the Cheetah Discotheque in midtown Manhattan. We liked the idea. it would get us geographically closer to Broadway. The 3 of us gave him the rights to produce HAIR at Cheetah. This was a direct transfer of the Public Theater production, except that it had to start at an unorthodox curtain time of 7:30pm (B'way was 8:30 in those days), and it had to play without an intermission, straight through, so the disco-dancing could begin at 10pm. Barbra Streisand and Otto Preminger, the famous movie director, were among a hefty list of celebrities who now visited the Cheetah to see HAIR. I was ouside the performance area and witnessed Preminger leaving the show early, huffing and puffing through the lobby, with "I want an intermission, I want an intermission!" When that engagement finally lumbered to a close, Jerry, Galt and I had an adventurous plan. Based on what we saw on the Public Theater and Cheetah stages, Jerry and I had rewritten the text, and, with Galt, had added 13 new songs, expanding the score from 20 to 33 numbers. At first, Butler wanted to move the production from the Cheetah, as is, to a Broadway theater. But he soon found out how determined Jerry and I were. We wanted a new director whom we had chosen, Tom O'Horgan. We wanted casting to be done all over again. We wanted new designers, and, most assuredly, we wanted the rewritten, restructured, expanded script of HAIR to be done. Mr. Butler, a first-time producer, walked away from our proposal, probably figuring it would be too expensive for one thing. We started peddling the new script to uptown producers again, and a week later Michael called us to say he was agreeable to the new re-conceptualization.

    Working with Tom O'Horgan, and a new choreographer, Julie Arenal, and what was largely a new Tribe of actors (six people from the off-Broadway production made it to Broadway: Paul Jabara, Sally Eaton, Shelley Plimpton, Linda Compton, Suzannah Norstrand and Gerome Ragni), we installed and experimented with the new script of HAIR. Tom used various "sensitivity exercises," some of which had been developed by the Chicagoan Viola Spolin, and some Open Theater techniques were employed as well. The Tribe was taught how and encouraged to work organically with us on the material. It was a very exciting, smooth-going, yet tumultuous, rehearsal process. We opened at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29, 1968 (6 months after off-Broadway), and Clive Barnes, who had some reservations about the off-Broadway version, raved about our transformative work, which was hugely gratifying. For the most part, the critics hurrahed. HAIR was a hit!

    HAIR has played pretty much continuously ever since its opening at Broadway's Biltmore Theatre on West 47 th Street. It was translated into many languages and produced around the world, from Japan and Australia to South & Central America, from Europe to Israel. Once the initial popularity waned, it seemed for a spell that HAIR was not an especially viable commodity there was a major slump of interest in it from around the mid 1970s into the early 80s, to my recollection. But then, in the mid-80s, a new interest arose which took hold and grew.

    Since then the show has received many major presentations in foreign countries, as well as amateur, stock, and university productions in the U.S. It has been very popular again in Australia, Germany, Denmark, Holland, France, Italy, Japan, and, since the Wall came tumbling down, travelled for the first time to Poland, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, and Sarajevo (featured on ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel, when Phil Alden Robinson visited that battle-torn country and discovered a powerful production of HAIR there in the midst of the war). Curiously, HAIR has not been revived to any acclaim on a large scale in the U.S.A. where it was born. Hopefully the new Broadway production (February 2009) will fill that void.

    HAIR has played many places around this globe we call Earth and the Russians call Mir. (In the Russian language, "Mir" means "Peace", as well as being the name for our planet.) Where has HAIR never played?: China, India, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctic continents as well as most African countries. With the passing of apartheid, HAIR finally made it to South Africa in the mid-1990s, after being banned for all the previous years. It opened to great excitement and was acclaimed. I read the reviews and marveled.

    In 1988, in a benefit for kids with AIDS, HAIR celebrated its twentieth anniversary in the United Nations General Assembly Hall with a cast of tribe alumni numbering 200. Among other highlights of that event, Melba Moore sang "Easy To Be Hard", Bea Arthur sang "Black Boys" and Nell Carter sang "White Boys". The master of ceremonies was Barbara Walters. Go figure.

    HAIR was one of the first shows to move from off- to on-Broadway.

    HAIR was the FIRST ROCK MUSICAL! Although it had received generally good critical notices off-Broadway, at the Biltmore Theater it got almost unanimous raves, with Clive Barnes of the New York Times championing it all the way. Some people hated HAIR. Some theater insiders were jealous of it. The rewritten, restructured, expanded HAIR hit Broadway with a bang on April 29, 1968 and became an instantaneous phenomenon. Everyone had to see HAIR. All the celebrities came. Rudolf Nureyev was one of the most elegant, from that other world of Russian ballet, and he became a friend to Jerry and me (even invited us to his home in London for a late supper after seeing a show together in the West End and meeting afterwards by happenchance). Carol Channing came backstage after she saw the show and thanked Paul Jabara for his impersonation of her in the Mom-Dad Scene, which he did every night. She said to Paul: "I loved your impersonation of Bette Davis!" Janis Joplin was a big fan and came on numerous occasions with groups of her friends. They would sit down front and rock out. About six months after the Broadway opening, a new company was formed in Los Angeles, produced by Michael Butler and the Smothers Brothers. Jerry and I left the New York cast and joined the L.A. Tribe for another 6 months as Berger and Claude. (When we left the L.A.show, Ben Vereen replaced Jerry and Teddy Neeley replaced me.) Los Angeles never had a musical run longer than several weeks, but HAIR settled down into the Aquarius Theater there for a 2-year run. One Sunday matinee, Mae West came to the show and said to me: "My, you boys certainly have a lot of energy!"

    On Broadway, the show ran 4 years at the Biltmore Theatre, and in London 5 years at the Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End. Zsa Zsa Gabor came to the London opening night. After the show, she had come up on stage to be interviewed for TV. Referring to what she had just seen, she said: "This is not acting!" From the wings was heard the voice of HAIR's Executive Producer, Bertrand Castelli (who hailed from the island of Corsica). He cried out, in response to Ms. Gabor: "What do you know about acting?" (I think, intuitively, she knew a lot about acting. The people in HAIR were NOT acting. they kind of lived their parts.) Bertrand emerged from the wings into full view he and Zsa Zsa went at it, in their respective Corsican and Hungarian accents, squabbling in front of the live audience and into the TV cameras, out across all of England. Everyone was glued to the moment. Zsa Zsa got up from her chair, leaving in a tizzy, and she fell down the center steps into the orchestra seats. She was caught by some of the Tribe. Others of the Tribe rushed to her side. Then, they lifted her into the air and carried her above their heads up the aisle and out, chanting: "We love you Zsa Zsa. we love you Zsa Zsa. "

    Eventually -- and this was unheard of -- in addition to the Broadway production, there were 9 other sit-down companies in 9 U.S. cities, all produced by Michael Butler and associates. The talent was recruited from each city: The show played simultaneously in New York, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, etc., plus , later, there were a couple of national tours. Butler joined with Robert Stigwood to produced the show in London, England, after which it was off and running as an international smash hit.

    That original production was thrilling to behold thanks to the artistry of the director Tom O'Horgan, choreographer Julie Arenal, lightning designer Jules Fisher, set designer Robin Wagner, and the mighty costumes of Nancy Potts. That was just the backstage talent. What was on stage were these incredible, mischievous, funny, singing, dancing, throbbing, screaming, crying angels (N.Y.Times critic Clive Barnes described them as "peppy protons"). the TRIBE. the beautiful TRIBERS. who embodied the story. the terrible/wonderful tale of the world at war and revolution. They lived it to the point where they became it. and the audience knew they were looking at the real thing.

    HAIR was a theatrical breakthrough in many ways. It was the first show with a truly integrated cast. It had the hypnotic aura of a miracle about it. Everyone connected to it felt it. My mother was so enthralled with her son singing "Where Do I Go" at the end of Act I, she didn't even see the nude scene that accompanied it.. Can you say YOU were there!? Fortunately, I can. As the old Shake 'n' Bake commercial said: "And I helped!"

    We did a second album of Songs Omitted from the Stage Production, called DISINHAIRITED. It was really fine. Galt outdid himself on those arrangements! I will be exploring the possibility of making DISINHAIRITED available on CD through this website soon. For now you can go to Cast Albums website.

    We are working on making available two new CD's: AMERICAN SOLDIER with Lyrics & Music by James Rado, and the Book co-authored by James Rado & his brother Theodore Omski. And a 3-CD complete SUN/Audio Movie , scenes included, acted by Jerry and Jim, sung by numerous gifted friends, music by Steve Margoshes , book and lyrics by Rado and Ragni. Hopefully, coming soon to this website.

    This Website is dedicated to my wonderful family and friends as well as to the loving Ragni family and to the living memory of Jerry Ragni who died in 1991.


    'Hair' At 50: Going Gray, But Its Youthful Optimism Remains Bouncy And Full-Bodied

    Actors rehearse a dance scene for the 1968 London production of the musical Hair.

    Fifty years ago this past weekend, Broadway "let the sun shine in."

    The musical Hair was controversial in 1968, with its rock music, hippies, nude scene, multiracial cast and anti-war irreverence. It billed itself as "the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical."

    Audiences . didn't quite know what to make of that. (They figured it out eventually.)

    To appreciate how unexpected Hair was in 1968, consider what else was playing on Broadway the week it opened:

    Fiddler on the Roof

    One of Fiddler's signature numbers, of course, is an anthem about the importance of "Tradition." And Broadway was a place of tradition — of stars, clearly enunciated lyrics, tap-dancing chorus kids and soaring ballads.

    Wait Wait. Don't Tell Me!

    Not My Job: Three Questions For Actor Terry O'Quinn About Hair

    Pop Culture

    Central Park Show Marks 40 Years of 'Hair'

    The counterculture wasn't part of that tradition. Especially when it sounded like Jimi Hendrix's fuzzy guitar licks.

    Broadway's idea of rock music had been the Elvis-like character in Bye Bye Birdie. Galt MacDermot's music for Hair was closer to the real thing. And the flower-power lyrics of James Rado and Jerome Ragni — like those from the second act's "Three-Five-Zero-Zero" — didn't sound like show-tunes either:

    Ripped open by metal explosion

    Caught in barbed wire

    Fireball

    Bullet shock

    . Bullets? Barbed wire? A look through the program was no more reassuring to the gray-hairs in the audience. The third song, "Hashish," was basically a list of drugs:

    Hashish

    Cocaine

    Marijuana

    Opium

    LSD

    DMT

    STP, BLT

    A&P, IRT

    APC, Alcohol

    Cigarettes, shoe polish, cough syrup, peyote

    Equinol, dexamil, camposine, chemadrine

    Thorazine, trilophon, dexadrine, benzedrine, methedrine

    S-E-X and Y-O-U, Wow!

    . While the fourth song, "Sodomy," listed sexual acts:

    Sodomy

    Fellatio

    Cunnilingus

    Pederasty

    Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

    Masturbation

    Can be fun

    Join the holy orgy

    Kama Sutra

    Everyone!

    That's drugs and sex right at the top of Act 1. And plot? Well, there wasn't one, really. Something about a guy who was worried about getting drafted. Except his storyline kept disappearing so that, say, a then-unknown Diane Keaton could sing about how much she liked dating black men:

    Because I really crave for

    My chocolate-flavored treats

    Black boys are nutritious

    This was, remember, barely three weeks after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Riots had rocked major cities including New York. But the show had little patience with the prejudices it was mocking.

    Hair was the generation gap made flesh — and for a few seconds at the end of the first act, made flesh with flesh: a nude scene in half-light the show added as it leapt from off-Broadway to a bigger theater on Broadway.

    The reviews were mixed, but young people were showing up. The traditional theater audience came along for the ride, because despite all the show's button-pushing and profanity, Hair was centrally, essentially, innocent.

    Kids out front, watching kids onstage who saw the world as improvable, who were hopeful about the future:

    Good morning, starshine

    The earth says hello

    You twinkle above us

    We twinkle below

    Yes, those kids were disheveled — and by "those kids," I sort of mean me, since I was wearing my own hair down to the middle of my back. My mom thought I looked like a poodle . and in pictures, I kinda do. A proud poodle, because Hair helped make hippies mainstream and relatable. [Editor's note:Guys, you really want to click this link to see a photo of circa 1968 Bob. With poodle hair. And hippie sideburns. And a belt buckle the size of dinner plate. It's really . something.]

    On TV, student protesters may have seemed threatening to some people — onstage, they were sort of cuddly.

    This thoroughly American "Tribal Love-Rock Musical" soon became a hit all over the world: Brazil, Italy, Japan . And it made rock music something that theater was forced to reckon with. In shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Dreamgirls and Rock of Ages, the rock musical became a Broadway genre. Hair got there first.

    These days, Hair is performed in high schools, by kids who can ask their grandparents about the draft and the war in Vietnam. Many of those kids — whatever the length of their hair — have made news recently, carrying protest signs at the "March for Our Lives," reminding those of us who've gotten disillusioned over the years of the fierce optimism youth nearly always has about the future.

    Hair was the dawning of the "Age of Aquarius," but a half-century later, that age is still with us.

    Correction May 2, 2018

    Previous audio and Web versions of this story mistakenly identified James Rado as Hair's composer. Rado wrote the show's book and lyrics with Jerome Ragni its music was composed by Galt MacDermot.


    'Hair' At 50: Going Gray, But Its Youthful Optimism Remains Bouncy And Full-Bodied

    Actors rehearse a dance scene for the 1968 London production of the musical Hair.

    Fifty years ago this past weekend, Broadway "let the sun shine in."

    The musical Hair was controversial in 1968, with its rock music, hippies, nude scene, multiracial cast and anti-war irreverence. It billed itself as "the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical."

    Audiences . didn't quite know what to make of that. (They figured it out eventually.)

    To appreciate how unexpected Hair was in 1968, consider what else was playing on Broadway the week it opened:

    Fiddler on the Roof

    One of Fiddler's signature numbers, of course, is an anthem about the importance of "Tradition." And Broadway was a place of tradition — of stars, clearly enunciated lyrics, tap-dancing chorus kids and soaring ballads.

    Wait Wait. Don't Tell Me!

    Not My Job: Three Questions For Actor Terry O'Quinn About Hair

    Pop Culture

    Central Park Show Marks 40 Years of 'Hair'

    The counterculture wasn't part of that tradition. Especially when it sounded like Jimi Hendrix's fuzzy guitar licks.

    Broadway's idea of rock music had been the Elvis-like character in Bye Bye Birdie. Galt MacDermot's music for Hair was closer to the real thing. And the flower-power lyrics of James Rado and Jerome Ragni — like those from the second act's "Three-Five-Zero-Zero" — didn't sound like show-tunes either:

    Ripped open by metal explosion

    Caught in barbed wire

    Fireball

    Bullet shock

    . Bullets? Barbed wire? A look through the program was no more reassuring to the gray-hairs in the audience. The third song, "Hashish," was basically a list of drugs:

    Hashish

    Cocaine

    Marijuana

    Opium

    LSD

    DMT

    STP, BLT

    A&P, IRT

    APC, Alcohol

    Cigarettes, shoe polish, cough syrup, peyote

    Equinol, dexamil, camposine, chemadrine

    Thorazine, trilophon, dexadrine, benzedrine, methedrine

    S-E-X and Y-O-U, Wow!

    . While the fourth song, "Sodomy," listed sexual acts:

    Sodomy

    Fellatio

    Cunnilingus

    Pederasty

    Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

    Masturbation

    Can be fun

    Join the holy orgy

    Kama Sutra

    Everyone!

    That's drugs and sex right at the top of Act 1. And plot? Well, there wasn't one, really. Something about a guy who was worried about getting drafted. Except his storyline kept disappearing so that, say, a then-unknown Diane Keaton could sing about how much she liked dating black men:

    Because I really crave for

    My chocolate-flavored treats

    Black boys are nutritious

    This was, remember, barely three weeks after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Riots had rocked major cities including New York. But the show had little patience with the prejudices it was mocking.

    Hair was the generation gap made flesh — and for a few seconds at the end of the first act, made flesh with flesh: a nude scene in half-light the show added as it leapt from off-Broadway to a bigger theater on Broadway.

    The reviews were mixed, but young people were showing up. The traditional theater audience came along for the ride, because despite all the show's button-pushing and profanity, Hair was centrally, essentially, innocent.

    Kids out front, watching kids onstage who saw the world as improvable, who were hopeful about the future:

    Good morning, starshine

    The earth says hello

    You twinkle above us

    We twinkle below

    Yes, those kids were disheveled — and by "those kids," I sort of mean me, since I was wearing my own hair down to the middle of my back. My mom thought I looked like a poodle . and in pictures, I kinda do. A proud poodle, because Hair helped make hippies mainstream and relatable. [Editor's note:Guys, you really want to click this link to see a photo of circa 1968 Bob. With poodle hair. And hippie sideburns. And a belt buckle the size of dinner plate. It's really . something.]

    On TV, student protesters may have seemed threatening to some people — onstage, they were sort of cuddly.

    This thoroughly American "Tribal Love-Rock Musical" soon became a hit all over the world: Brazil, Italy, Japan . And it made rock music something that theater was forced to reckon with. In shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Dreamgirls and Rock of Ages, the rock musical became a Broadway genre. Hair got there first.

    These days, Hair is performed in high schools, by kids who can ask their grandparents about the draft and the war in Vietnam. Many of those kids — whatever the length of their hair — have made news recently, carrying protest signs at the "March for Our Lives," reminding those of us who've gotten disillusioned over the years of the fierce optimism youth nearly always has about the future.

    Hair was the dawning of the "Age of Aquarius," but a half-century later, that age is still with us.

    Correction May 2, 2018

    Previous audio and Web versions of this story mistakenly identified James Rado as Hair's composer. Rado wrote the show's book and lyrics with Jerome Ragni its music was composed by Galt MacDermot.


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